Jerry Kill has been a well-respected name around Minnesota for nearly a decade now. Since taking over the program in 2011 and having a fairly successful five-year run with the Golden Gophers, along with his “Country Jer” personality, Kill was considered one of the good guys in the sport.
But after a recent radio interview, Minnesota fans may not be viewing the former head coach in the same light. Not after he trashed current Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck, saying “he’s about himself.”
Kill, who coached at Minnesota from 2011 until midway through the 2015 season, spoke with Matt Shick and A.J. Hawk on the Big Ten Sirius XM radio station regarding Fleck and Minnesota football. He had nothing pleasant to say about his successor.
“I just think, sometimes, ego gets carried away. When he went to Minnesota and treated the people the way he treated my guys, telling them he had to go in and completely change the culture, and that it was a bad culture and bad people. He made it sound like we didn’t know what we were doing,” Kill said. “I took it personal. You just don’t treat people that’ve been with you and helped your career, and you don’t even talk to them once you get the job.”
You have to hear this!!
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) February 19, 2019
Fleck was a member of Kill’s staff at Northern Illinois, serving as the wide receivers coach from 2008-09.
Kill has been critical of Minnesota since the program fired Tracy Claeys after 10 players were accused of a sexual assault that occurred early in the 2017 season. The suspensions of those players led to a brief boycott from the entire Gophers football team prior to its Holiday Bowl game.
Claeys issued his support for the team’s decision and was subsequently fired following the bowl game. After the firing, Kill said he would never again step foot on the University of Minnesota campus.
Later in the interview, Kill said that he still supports the Gophers on the field, but that he doesn’t have much respect for Fleck.
“Do I still root for the Gophers? I do,” Kill said. “Do I enjoy him running up and down the sideline? No. Do I think that he’s about the players? No. He’s about himself.
“You can’t tell me — you’ve watched him — you listen to his interviews, you think he thinks about the players? I just lost a lot of respect.”
Kill compiled a 29-29 record at Minnesota, leading the Gophers to three-straight bowl games from 2012-14. He was forced to retire midway through the 2015 season due to medical issues.
Despite turning around a floundering program, Kill is going to face plenty of criticism from the Gopher faithful for his recent comments. He may lose his title as one of the good guys in college football, too.