Listen to the full hour long interview with Coach Jerry Kill in the player above...
By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - After making his first public appearance Tuesday since stepping away from the team earlier this month, Jerry Kill continued to slowly reassume his responsibilities as head coach of the Gophers Football Team day-by-day. The next step in the process for him was returning to his weekly radio show on KFAN FM 100.3 which Kill opted to do Thursday afternoon at Joe Senser's in Roseville, MN.
Given his first opportunity to speak directly to Gopher fans, both in the restaurant and over the air-waves, Kill took the opportunity to be brutally honest in regards to his health situation and how it has affected the team, future recruits and his own family.
"I've put people in some tough situations," Kill admitted Thursday in response to the strain that his situation has put on those around him.
"All of that is a little bit hard for me. When you're wife has to tell you at one o'clock in the morning and my clothes are hanging there and she has to tell you that you missed the game, I can't describe that. This has been a battle, cancer was one, but this has been a beast a bit."
Since leaving the team, Kill has spent time both in the hospital and at home as a team of professionals tries to regulate his medications to better control his particular case of epilepsy. While the medication regimen continues to improve, Kill is also using this step back as a teaching moment in finding the proper work/life balance to better benefit health. He's even taken his message into the locker room as he continues to groom his players to not only perform on the football field but to be men of honor and perform more importantly in everyday life.
"Men, I'm a good example of all the things you don't want to do," Kill told his players. "I've always told you, get your sleep, make sure you eat at the right times and [don't do] drugs. You're coach is an example of not getting any sleep, not eating properly and through all different kinds of medication the chemistry wasn't good. You don't want to be like that. I'm going to give you advice...sleep, eat right and stay off of anything that's not supposed to go in your body."
With their leader back at the helm, the players will turn their focus on to Indiana and the high-powered Hoosiers offense. Meanwhile Kill continues to delegate his tasks amongst his experienced coaching staff in hopes to take some of the added stress out of his life. While one of the main parts of his recovery and treatment is taking a step back from his old 16 hour days, one of those responsibilities that Kill was reluctant to hand off was that of heading up the recruiting efforts.
"The amazing thing through the adversity that we've had, I've been doing a lot of recruiting, and recruiting continues to get better, our program is moving forward," Kill said Thursday. "The most important thing for us to do is our recruits need to hear from me...I wanted to make sure they heard my voice and I also wanted to make sure [to tell them], 'I don't know what you've heard but I'm going to be coaching for a long time.' I think they respect that I'm not trying to hide from what it is."
The status report on the recruiting front is also coming in strong according to Kill.
"Every one of our recruits was very strong and held in there," Kill continued. "I worked last night and recruiting is going better than it has since I've been here but beating Nebraska is part of it. Winning solves a lot of problems."
The rest of the season will surely be an adventure as the Gophers and Jerry Kill's coaching staff continue to embark on uncharted territory. But as the days go by, Kill remains focused on doing what's best for these kids and the University of Minnesota above and beyond and concern he has for himself. He's fought through adversity before, now it's his time to lead through it.
"You can either fold under adversity, or you can rise to it," Kill said. "I beat cancer and I'll win this war eventually, sooner than later. I'm a strong-minded guy, I believe that's going to happen."
Photo - Leon Halip (Getty Images)
Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Gophers updates and breaking Gophers news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN