Ask LNH: How did you know Kill would be gone in 2015?

Ask LNH: How did you know Kill would be gone in 2015?

For years you have stated that Jerry Kill’s final year as head coach at Minnesota would be 2015. Even this season upon news of a finalized contract extension and hefty raise, you continued to state this was his last year. The news of his resignation this week shocked most people – how were you able to foresee this outcome? 

Jerry Kill and the University of Minnesota have continued to put his health and well-being in jeopardy. The truth behind his health history is not known by most of the public, but was fairly easy to understand for those who took emotion out of the equation and analyzed the facts rationally.

Stress is the major issue here. The stress in year five at Minnesota was always going to be too much for Jerry Kill.

With the history of the Gopher football program, any results in the first couple of years would be forgiven. By year five, with a roster put together by full recruiting cycles of Kill and his long-time staff, the bar would be raised. Moderate success in years three and four, combined with the schedule and how the roster was shaping up for 2015, set the stage for the inevitable.

Lackluster results on the field, growing criticism and most importantly – the inability to change – created the perfect storm. Jerry Kill was facing real criticism as he never had before. His offense and decisions about the quarterback position were heavily attacked by the media and some fans. Conversely, the defense was praised… until Nebraska put up 48 points against the Gophers.

Minnesota – oddly picked to win the Big Ten West and finish the regular season with 9 wins by a number of people – was now looked at as a team who may not even play in a bowl game.

Indeed, the stress got to Jerry Kill and things snowballed. We should be thankful he was able to step away before his health got worse than it already is.

Jerry Kill’s press conference was very emotional. I bet an awful jerk like you laughed the whole time.

It was emotional and sad. But I smiled because Kill finally did what was long overdue – put his health first.

Many people pointed to the sadness of Jerry “not knowing what he’s going to do.” The reality is that he’s a multi-millionaire with a family and many friends who absolutely adore him. Now, he’s giving himself a better chance at a truly special gift – the gift of health. This is a happy story.

Kill is a courageous man. Why don’t you think he’s the best role model ever?

To a degree, I can respect the attitude of, “screw what anybody else says, I’m doing things my way and nothing is stopping me. I ain’t gonna change. Period.” However, for the many people who unfortunately deal with illness, disabilities and other obstacles in life, this is a poor message.

“Don’t listen to doctors, don’t listen to family and friends, just keep pushing through and doing what you want to do no matter what.” This isn’t a good message, but that’s what I’ve seen from Kill over the years.

Many of us with challenges have had to make sacrifices and change our lives. When you are sick, it is absolutely OK to lean on others and let others help you. It’s OK to make difficult changes in your life because of your illness or other challenges. It’s not fair, it’s sad and it’s not easy… but it’s wise.

What becomes impressive is how people adapt.

So far from Kill we’ve heard, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” In a vacuum, that’s very sad. However, he’s dealing with a manageable health issue, has money, family, fame… a lot of others aren’t so lucky.

So who am I impressed by? There are countless people who have adapted and demonstrated themselves to be strong, courageous and resilient individuals. A local example would be Jack Jablonski.

I believe Jerry Kill will find ways to enjoy life and help others post-coaching, but that chapter is yet to be written.

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