Jerry Kill believes Minnesota already has his replacement.

The former Gopher coach, who retired last week because of his ongoing battle with epilepsy, made a bold prediction on a Southern Illinois radio show on Wednesday morning. He said he believes interim coach Tracy Claeys will be named Minnesota’s permanent coach in the next couple weeks.

“I know Coach Claeys is gonna do a great job and I’m very hopeful and positive here that in the next couple weeks he’ll be hired as the head coach permanently,” Kill said on Saluki Radio.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Claeys got a vote of confidence from Kill. After Saturday’s nail-biter loss to Michigan, Claeys has a 4-4 career mark as Kill’s replacement. He’s been a member on Kill’s staff at five different schools dating all the way back to Saginaw Valley State in 1995.

The removal of Claeys’ interim tag would keep Kill’s staff in place in the Twin Cities.

“He’s got all that juice and a bunch of other guys that know how to do it,” Kill said of Claeys.

In terms of what’s next for Kill in the immediate future, he said he was taking a trip to Florida with his wife, Rebecca, and after that he would decide what to do next. He said he’s already had several job offers and the idea of working in football is still a possibility, just not as a head coach at a Division I university.

Ultimately, the 54-year-old Kill said, it’ll be a group decision.

“I just have to figure out what’s the best step in Coach Kill’s life, what’s best for his family,” he said. “I’m not going to be a head coach. I can promise that you now. The only thing maybe would be quality control, off the field, where your hours are controlled.

“I had one coach call me and say, ‘You can name your hours. We’d just like to have you on your staff for your ideas.’ … It’s way too early, and I’ve got to get right. We’ll see.”