Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is expected to return to work later this afternoon, and he has the full support of his boss and university.
Kill, who has epilepsy, suffered a seizure right before halftime of the Gophers' game against Western Illinois on Saturday. He was taken to a local hospital as a precaution but was back home later that afternoon. It was the third game-day epileptic episode for Kill since he became Minnesota coach in 2011.
The latest incident prompted many to wonder whether Kill could or should go on as head coach. But the Gophers view things as business as usual, and athletic director Norwood Teague put to rest any notions of change while meeting with some local media on Monday morning.
"Jerry is our coach," Teague said. "We are 100 percent behind him. I am 100 percent behind him."
Kill's medical condition has no doubt caused some disruptions on game days, but Teague said Kill's job is "so much more than just Saturday," pointing to the positive way he manages all other aspects of the program.
"We deal with it, and we move on," Teague said. "If I felt like it was affecting things, it would be different."
Both of Kill's coordinators, Tracy Claeys and Matt Limegrover, have come to his defense. Minnesota went on to beat Western Illinois 29-12 after briefly trailing in the third quarter.
"He has epilepsy, and he’s made that very clear, and he hasn’t run from it or hid from it,” Limegrover told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I think when people say that and write that, they’re basically saying, ‘Hey, it’s too bad. You people with epilepsy, don’t shoot for your dreams, don’t push and try and have goals because it makes me uncomfortable to see when something happens.’ I mean, I’m shaking over here because I think it’s so ignorant.”
Kill spent the offseason working with doctors to find ways to control the seizures and said this summer that he needed to make sure they didn't happen again during games.
"I've always said, if it was something that I felt like I was cheating the university or wasn't able to do my job, then I certainly wouldn't cheat anybody," Kill told ESPN.com in August. "I've never done that in my life, and wouldn't. Through the eight years of having Stage 4 kidney cancer and being epileptic, I missed maybe five days of work. I'd say that's pretty good. Maybe I've been a little foggy at times at a couple of them, but I've been there."
Teague expressed confidence that Kill can make it work.
“I have full faith that we can move forward with the program,” he said. "I just trust that we’re going to keep battling through it, and he is going to keep looking at it in an intensive way with his physicians.”