The Minnesota Golden Gophers are worried about more than just a loss to Michigan State Spartans yesterday as their second-year head coach Jerry Kill suffered yet another seizure during halftime of the game.
Kill did not return for the second half of play as the Golden Gophers fell to the Spartans 26-10. This was the third such occurrence that Kill has endured on game day, either on the field or in the locker room.
This brings up the question: is Kill too big of a liability to be kept on staff?
Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague knew that this question would arise, but he stood firm in his belief that Jerry is their guy.
“I know this will bring up questions about him and moving forward, but we have 100 percent confidence in Jerry,” Teague said. “He’s as healthy as a horse, as they say. It’s just an epileptic situation that he deals with. He has to continue to monitor all the simple things in life that we all have to monitor, in that you watch your diet, watch your weight, watch your rest, watch your stress.”
Like Teague said, stress is a huge issue for college football coaches and their health is always under a microscope. This isn’t the first instance of a coach’s health being an issue and missing time for such speed bumps. Kill’s counterpart on Saturday, Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio, also suffered from health issues just two years before.
Following a last-second victory over rival Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2010, Dantonio suffered a mild heart attack that hospitalized him for a few days. He was later released and was forced to sit in the press box for games as the assistant coach at the time, Don Treadwell, took over head coaching duties.
Although Kill is used to these types of episodes and they are dealt with swiftly and accordingly, this should be closely monitored as it could become something more. He was “comfortable” and his vital signs were fine following the teams loss to Michigan State and did not require a hospital visit, according to Teague.
As for downplaying this health problem, Norwood Teague believes that it’s almost a non-issue because of the way everyone knows how to deal with it.
“You don’t downplay it, but you get to the point of realizing that it’s just something he has to deal with at times,” Teague said. “You don’t want to say it’s not a big deal, but in a way it’s easy to deal with, in a lot of ways.”
This instance brings up the alarming issue of college football coach’s health. Coaches deal with a lot: the ups and downs, the wins and losses, the recruiting and the loss of sleep all plague them throughout a season. It’s a non-stop grind that these men must face and it takes a toll on them. Player concussions may be the burning issue in sports right now, but soon that will shift to a coach’s health. Something to keep an eye on going forward.