MINNEAPOLIS - Gophers head football coach, Jerry Kill, is taking a leave of absence to focus on his Epilepsy treatment.
Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague announced that defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the acting head coach when Kill is away.
In a Thursday afternoon news conference, Teague said Kill's leave of absence was Kill's decision.
Claeys said there's no time frame for Kill's return to the sidelines.
"I don't know how long it will take," said Claeys.
Coach Claeys said Kill is the team's biggest fan and added that this will not hurt recruiting.
Kill has missed parts of four games in three seasons at Minnesota because of seizures, including two this season. He recently missed the Michigan game on Oct. 5 after having a seizure the morning before the game.
The Gophers next opponent is Northwestern on Oct. 19.
Statement from Head Coach Jerry Kill
"My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks. This was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision. Our staff has been together a long time and I have full confidence in Coach Claeys and them during my time away. Every decision that will be made will be in the best interest of the players and the program. I look forward to returning to the Minnesota sideline on a full-time basis soon."
Statement from Director of Athletics Norwood Teague
"Coach Kill is taking time to continue treatment and focus on managing his Epilepsy. Tracy Claeys will serve as the interim head coach until Coach Kill is ready to return. Coach Kill will remain in very close contact with the team and his staff and provide direction and support as needed. Our support for Coach Kill is unwavering and we look forward to his return to full-time coaching duties.
"This is a great group of student-athletes under the guidance of one of the longest-tenured and most respected staffs in college football, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to move this program forward and make us proud."
Statement from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler
"Athletics Director Norwood Teague and Coach Kill are managing this health situation, as it relates to our football program, in the most straightforward and caring manner possible. They are acting in the best interests of this University, its alumni and fans and, most importantly, the student-athletes who have placed their trust in us. I eagerly look forward to Coach Kill's return and wish him all the best."
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