New Gopher football coach stops in Red WingMinnesota Sports
-- Jerry Kill, the new University of Minnesota football coach, talked with the Republican Eagle's Ryan Nilsson during his visit Monday to United Lutheran Church in Red Wing.
By: Ryan Nilsson - Republican-Eagle Sports Staff, Pierce County Herald
RED WING - Jerry Kill, the new University of Minnesota football coach, talked with the Republican Eagle's Ryan Nilsson during his visit Monday to United Lutheran Church in Red Wing.
Kill spent the last three seasons at Northern Illinois where he went 23-16 overall. Known for his work rebuilding struggling programs, Kill has a career record of 127-73 at four different schools.
When you arrived people were talking about the scandal at Ohio State. What do you think it's going to take for the NCAA and college presidents to restore integrity?
If I had that answer I'd get paid another million dollars probably. I think it all comes back to individuals. It all goes back to our society and our culture and so forth. I think it's our responsibility as adults to take care of the situation. I think we've got to take a good look at where we're at and what we're doing.
In fairness to the coaches, there's so many things that we can't control and there's so many things that are out of our control that make it very difficult from a recruiting standpoint. Now you've got the third-party involved just like it is in basketball.
I think that's what happened to athletics is our cultural problems have gone right into the athletics and now we're asked to deal with them. How do we get it turned around? I think it's just like our country's got to get things turned around. I don't think the kids are near as much as the problem as the adults. ...
It's just a different world right now because you have Facebook, you've got Twitter and it's not gonna change. It ain't going away. With all the technology things you've got, everybody knows everything.
There's probably a lot of things that are happening now that have been happening for 25 or 30 years. I mean Oklahoma University, you can go all the way back through college football, but it's so visible now through electronics.
Shoot, I'll get 180, 200 emails a day. Keeping track of everything is hard to do for one person. I think it's just gotten so big, there's so much money. I think that the schools and the NCAA are going to have to make sure we have enough people to handle it.
I thought one of the more powerful things you talked about today was your relationship with your dad. How did he influence you as a coach?
I think he influenced me as a man. ... I think if you're a parent, you got to be a good coach and teacher. I just think that my dad was an old-school guy. I'd call (him), just like the people here in Red Wing, a tough guy that worked hard his whole life for everything he had. He taught me and my brothers great values. I think those have extended and stayed with us throughout our years.
I believe that your parents mold you from the time you're born until you're 18 years old. I was very fortunate to have a man with integrity of his sort and hard work ethic that raised me. I'm very fortunate.
A lot of the area high school programs have struggled the past few years. I think they wish they could pull a page out of your playbook and turn things around. At a high school level, and you've coached there, what are the keys to get things going in the right direction?
I think that you've got to be able to convince these young kids today what an honest day's hard work is. I think if you get a group of people that work hard and you can get the kids to play hard and give everything they have, you're gonna have a chance every Friday or Saturday.
But the problem is it's hard to get grown-ups to do that. They don't play hard in the NFL every play.
You can get a team that is going to play hard for you and you establish that through the summer, the workouts that the high school coaches have in the summer. But again, a lot of that has to come with the parents. The parents have to support the coach. The grown-ups got to help the coach out.
There's been a lot of research and published reports about concussions and brain injuries. Has that impacted how you coach, how you schedule practices?
No. You can't change what you do. Lou Holtz used to say if you're in a good football position you won't get hurt. I think you just got to coach good technique. Even if you coach good technique you're talking about a collision sport.
You can get a concussion going down a bike and falling off of it.
It's something that you certainly are conscious of and I think our trainers do a good job. We held two of them out of practice this spring that got hurt and had a concussion. It's emphasized right now so I think you're a little bit more careful. Most of that goes to the trainer at our level and he's not going to allow them to practice unless they're clear.