Gophers extend Kill’s contract

The head football coach will stay five more seasons and make $2.1 million next year.

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill discusses his football career in his office Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

Daily File Photo, Amanda Snyder

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill discusses his football career in his office Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

by Dane Mizutani

Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill and the University of Minnesota have agreed to restructure the coach’s contract, athletics director Norwood Teague announced Saturday afternoon.

That new contract adds a year to Kill’s current contract, extending it through the 2018-19 season. It also increases the coach’s pay to $2.1 million for the 2014-15 season.

“I appreciate the support [University] President Eric Kaler and [Teague] have shown to me, the program and our student-athletes,” Kill said in a statement Saturday. “I am extremely proud of what our players and coaches accomplished on and off the field last season. We still have a lot of work to do, but are moving the program in the right direction.”

The Gophers are fresh off their most impressive season in recent memory. Minnesota finished the 2013-14 season 8-5, culminating in a 21-17 loss to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl.

While the bowl loss put a damper on an otherwise successful season, the Gophers did beat Nebraska for the first time since 1960 and won four straight Big Ten games in a season for the first time since 1973.

“Coach Kill is proving his model works here at the University of Minnesota,” Teague said in a statement Saturday. “It is right to support him as he builds a program that will make the state of Minnesota proud.”

Kill, who has epilepsy and has had multiple documented seizures on game days throughout his career, sustained two game-day seizures during the 2013-14 season. He took a leave of absence in October to better manage his epilepsy.

Kill gradually returned to coaching last season but said he delegated responsibility to his assistant coaches more than he ever had before.

He coached multiple games from the coaches’ box and didn’t make his return to on-field coaching until the Texas Bowl.

“It allows me to make sure I don’t have a setback,” Kill said during the 2013-14 season about his leave of absence. “I’m moving forward for the first time in a long time.”

The Gophers football program also took a step forward for the first time in a long time last season.

“Jerry Kill is the right coach for the University of Minnesota,” Kaler said in a statement Saturday. “He has clearly moved our program forward and I am pleased we have come to this agreement to secure his long-term leadership of Gopher football.”

Kill will address members of the media Monday afternoon to discuss his new contract. Teague will also be available for comment Monday.