Kill retains two Gophers staff members

John Hageman

Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill announced Thursday that he will retain two of Tim Brewster’s staff members.

Thomas Hammock will continue performing his duties as running backs coach and Dan O’Brien will be kept on as the director of football operations, a role he’s played for the past three seasons. Hammock coached the backs at Northern Illinois, Kill’s previous stop, for two seasons before coming to Minnesota in 2007.

“Both Thomas Hammock and Dan O’Brien have been amazing through the transition over the past couple weeks,” Kill said in a statement, citing Hammock’s recruiting talents as a reason for keeping him on. “I can’t say enough good things about those two men.”

The announcement comes two days after interim head coach Jeff Horton was officially relieved of his duties as a coach. Horton led the Gophers to two upset wins to close out the season after Brewster’s termination following a 1-6 start. The Gophers finished the season at 3-9.

Kill expressed regret that he couldn’t keep Horton on, as he already has a offensive coordinator in long-time assistant Matt Limegrover, but praised Horton for his leadership in the latter half of the season.

“I will still use Coach Horton as a resource,” Kill said in the statement. “We’ll be spending a lot of time on the phone and I’m sure there will be a few steak dinners in our future. Jeff Horton made the University of Minnesota better. He will have a lot in front of him. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up back in the NFL very soon.”

Kill has yet to announce the rest of his staff, but told the Daily that he planned on having it decided early this week.