Jerry Kill: P.J. Fleck walked into a gold mine at Minnesota
Six years ago, Jerry Kill was getting his feet wet in Minneapolis.
He inherited a three-win team that had no shortage of problems to fix. The Gophers were in the B1G basement without a clear way out. Three years later, Kill had the Gophers competing for a B1G West crown.
Compare that to the situation P.J. Fleck walked into. Fleck, who was hired in January, took over a program that won nine games in 2016. The Gophers won eight games in three of four seasons for the second time in program history.
While Kill and Fleck both took over the same program, the differences are significant.
Here were Kill’s Minnesota thoughts that he shared with the Big Ten Network:
“People were saying they have to rebuild Minnesota. Shoot. That thing is built and ready to go. This year should be the best that Minnesota has had. I support (P.J.) Fleck on what he is doing. You have to do what you have to do. It is his program now. But I am not crazy about him saying they have to rebuild the program. We went in there and said a lot of the same things when I took over, but that’s not the case now. That new A.D. (Mark Coyle) has no idea what we inherited. (Former A.D.) Joel Maturi does. Call him. We inherited a mess. (Fleck) has walked into a gold mine.”
It’s hard to argue with that. Minnesota does have 13 starters returning from that nine-win team, not to mention a new, $113 million Athletes Village that’s being built.
Kill added that he’s not bitter about the way Minnesota treated him after he resigned because of his battle with epilepsy.
In the wake of the bowl protest, Kill did say publicly that he wouldn’t step foot on Minnesota’s athletic facility as long as the current administration was there. Obviously his recent comments were a bit more complimentary of his former program.
The entire Q&A Dienhart did with Kill is worth your time.