Minneapolis, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Minnesota Golden Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill will continue to take time away from the program to focus on how to better treat his epilepsy, the school announced on Thursday afternoon.
The 52-year-old Kill has missed parts of four games due to epileptic seizures in his three seasons as head coach, two of which have been this season.
“My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks," Kill wrote in a statement. "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.”
It is unclear at this point how much time Kill will miss during this extended absence from the team. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as interim head coach in Kill's absence.
"Coach Kill will remain in very close contact with the team and his staff and provide direction and support as needed," Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague wrote in a statement. "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.”
The Gophers this season are (4-2) overall this season and (0-2) within the Big Ten. The team's next game is scheduled for Oct. 19 on the road against Northwestern.