MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Former Gophers football head coach Jerry Kill is steaming over of the University of Minnesota handled Tracy Claeys.
In a phone interview with Fox 9 Sports Director Jim Rich, Kill said he has no problem if the university wants to change coaches, but he has a big problem with the way Athletics Director Mark Coyle did the deed, especially when he questioned the integrity of the football program.
Kill defended what he did as a coach for Minnesota, and said that Claeys was following that path. Kill told Fox 9 he would never set foot on the U of M’s campus again, except for a game with his new team, the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights. He was recently named the school’s new offensive coordinator.
“I love Minnesota. I love the people in the state of Minnesota. They’re great. They’ve treated us tremendously,” Kill said. “But, I will not step foot on campus the rest of my living life unless I’m playing there because that’s how disappointed I am in how things have been handled."
Kill said he believes Coyle was looking for an excuse to fire Claeys because he wanted to get his own coach in there to run the program.
“Well most new ADs that come in, let’s face it, they want to bring their own coach in,” Kill said. “I mean, I think this was a way to, you know, if you committed to Tracy now you’re going to have to commit to a pretty big chunk of change and some money because of what happened – a 9-4 season and some of the things that happened and this was an easy way to get his own guy in.”
Claeys was let go on Tuesday following the completion of his first full season as head coach. He had replaced Kill, who retired mid-season in 2015 for health reasons.
At a press conference, Coyle said the decision to fire Claeys did not come from one specific incident, such as the coach’s tweet in support of the team’s boycott, but rather it was part of an overall evaluation.
“I think he had to sell out all of us to the public to make his case,” Kill said.