Jerry Kill, who led Northern Illinois to a 10-3 record, a national ranking and the 2010 MAC Championship game, has accepted the head coaching position at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota announced Sunday night.
Kill informed the Huskie team of his decision following Northern Illinois’ Annual Football Banquet in DeKalb. NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher addressed the players after Kill.
“We certainly appreciate the job Jerry has done during his time here at Northern Illinois,” Compher said. “He is more than just a coach – he’s a friend. Our families have become close and [my wife] Cathy and I wish he and Rebecca nothing but the best. There are mixed emotions, as I’m sure the players have, because you always want what’s best for your friend, but you know that daily contact will be missed.”
NIU President Dr. John Peters echoed Compher’s sentiments and expressed confidence in Kill’s ability to succeed in his new position.
“Coach Kill did a remarkable job with taking the Huskie football program to a high level of success,” said Peters. “His efforts have helped make NIU football one of most attractive college football programs in the country. We wish Coach Kill well, and we know that he will be as successful at Minnesota and in the Big Ten as he has been here at NIU and in the MAC.”
NIU will immediately begin a national search for Kill’s successor with the assistance of Atlanta-based search firm Parker Executive Search.
“We want to move as expeditiously as possible, but we also want to be sure we get the right person to be here,” Compher said. “I think we have a unique situation in that, this is a transition where we’re handing over what I think is maybe one of the best teams in the country to the next coaching staff.
“I want to be sure that we get the right coaching staff in here that can continue the level of success and the level of play we’ve enjoyed over the last few years under Coach Kill’s guidance. He’s done a great job in that regard. It’s a very unique situation because it’s not a question of rebuilding, it’s a question of continuing and making sure we keep our program at the top of the league.”
Northern Illinois, which won nine straight games in 2010, broke the school’s single season scoring record and swept the Mid-American Conference in the regular season for the first time in school history, will represent the MAC in the 2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho on Dec. 18, 2010 versus Fresno State. Kill will not coach Northern Illinois in the bowl game; the decision of who will lead the Huskies in the bowl game will be announced at a later date.
“At this point, we are trying to determine which of our staff will be here to lead our team into the bowl game,” Compher said. “There are certainly some things we are going to work through.”
Kill leaves after compiling a 23-16 record in three seasons at NIU. He is the only coach in school history with two wins over Big Ten teams as the Huskies defeated Purdue in 2009 and won at Minnesota in 2010. With the trip to Boise this year, NIU will play in three straight bowl games for the first time ever.
Tickets for the 2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl game can be purchased for $25 through the Bowl Central page on the Northern Illinois Athletics’ website at www.NIUHuskies.com, or by calling the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at 815-752-6800 during regular business hours.
Northern Illinois will offer free tickets to NIU students who can attend the game. Students can pick up their free ticket (one per student) at the NIU Convocation Center Ticket Office beginning Thursday, Dec. 9. Proper identification will be required. Fans who cannot attend the game but wish to purchase tickets through Northern Illinois for $25 which will then be donated to personnel at the local Air Force base near Boise, can do so calling 815-752-6800 or online through the PDF form.
Information on travel to Boise will be available on NIU’s “Bowl Central” website later this week.
by Donna Turner