Kill signs $8.4M deal to coach until 2018

The new contract extension will pay $1.2M annually.

Derek Wetmore

In the midst of a losing season in which blowout losses have become the norm, Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill finally got some good news: He has job security.

Kill signed a seven-year contract to remain with the program through February 2018, athletics director Joel Maturi announced in a release Tuesday.

The deal will pay him $1.2 million annually for a total of $8.4 million including base salary and compensation for media appearances and endorsements.

âÄúThis contract represents a significant commitment to coach Kill and our belief in his vision for Gopher football,âÄù Maturi said in the release. âÄúHe has proved over the past 10 months what a great fit he is at the University of Minnesota and I have been very impressed with him as both a coach and a person. We are lucky to have him and I am thrilled that we now have an agreement in place that has secured coach Kill as our head football coach well into the future.âÄù

The contract is retroactive to December 2010, when Kill was first announced as the GophersâÄô 27th head football coach, two months after Tim Brewster was bought out from his contract.

âÄúRebecca and I, along with our family and staff, are very thankful to the University and certainly to our administration, including director of athletics Joel Maturi and President Eric Kaler,âÄù Kill said in the release. âÄúIâÄôm glad itâÄôs now settled and we can move on from here. We are excited about the future of our program.âÄù

âÄúThis isnâÄôt about Jerry Kill and a contract; this is about the football program and where we want to go with it,âÄù Kill said at his weekly press conference Tuesday.

âÄúThereâÄôs no question that Joel [Maturi] and our administration here âÄî thereâÄôs no question our president knows our football program needs to go another direction.âÄù Kill later added: âÄúI know our president is 110 percent in. Period.âÄù

Kill announced Tuesday one of his plans for the new assurance of a paycheck: he plans to buy around 4,000 students lunch Saturday.

âÄúThose kids have been good to us and taking care of us and, you know, we are not doing very well. So I said, âÄòLetâÄôs reward them.âÄôâÄù

âÄúThey deserve that,âÄù he said.

The deal includes a buyout of $600,000 per season for each year bought out. It also has incentives that would pay him for winning the Big Ten ($150,000), winning five conference games ($50,000) and $25,000 for marginal victories exceeding five. Kill has also stressed the dire state of the programâÄôs academics, for which there are also financial incentives detailed.

MaturiâÄôs hire of Kill drew immediate ire from the vocal portion of the GophersâÄô fan base after he had promised a âÄúTubby Smith-likeâÄù hire.

His blue-collar attitude has since won over a portion of the student body and one former student said he was glad Kill and the University completed the extension.

âÄúItâÄôs a big rebuilding project,âÄù recent University graduate Andrew Shipe said. âÄúHe talks about building foundation on concrete instead of sand.âÄù

 âÄúI was initially surprised when I read the news to be honest with you,âÄù Shipe said. He noted that it is likely a big recruiting advantage, because not many coaches have a seven-year deal and that shows a lot of confidence.

âÄúThatâÄôs a great thing,âÄù quarterback MarQueis Gray said. âÄúFor myself, I had a new coach almost every year since IâÄôve been here.  ThatâÄôs great for the younger guys.  Having that one head coach can help the team a lot.  Fortunately for Minnesota, they got that.âÄù

Kill added: âÄú[The deal] doesnâÄôt mean we are going to wave a magic wand and win 10 games all of a sudden. [It] just means we start putting the concrete in so to speak.âÄù

Some fans have questioned the timing of the deal, though. The team has started 1-6, with big losses to conference opponents and nonconference losses to New Mexico State and North Dakota State.

Kill has a history of seizures, including a very public episode at the end of a Sept. 10 game against New Mexico State. He has missed numerous practices because of the condition this season, but has not missed any games.

 

âÄîSports reporter Adam Richard contributed to this report.