And in the months since the hire it appears to be the right one. But the point of this exercise is to discuss just how bold of a move it was by Joel Maturi to hire someone of Jerry Kill's stature, when it was clearly not a Tubby Smith type hire. Initially this hire was greeted with skepticism, angst and anger from the usually negative local media as well as the fan base and even former Gophers.
Ricky Foggie was quoted by Marcus Fuller saying,
"We were in such a dire need of getting the right guy in here," Foggie said. "It's hard to see why they wanted to get a guy that nobody really knows nationally to come in and rebuild. He might come in and do a wonderful job. But if you get a top-name guy, then you know you're going to be able to recruit. You know you're going to be able to get players and turn this thing around. Now it's kind of up in the air."
Not surprsingly, Patrick Ruesse thought it was a bad hire.
"There's reason to suspect that Maturi not only failed to make a hire that satisfied fans, but that it might have been a choice that failed to satisfy him."
A December 5th poll that was posted on TDG asked, what do you think of Maturi's decision to hire Jerry Kill? With four options to choose from the winner was "I'll give Kill a chance, but fire Maturi now" with 48% of the vote. Second place was "FAIL" with 20% of the vote. That left 32% to be divided between "Shrug" and "Great." The poll garnered an impressive 805 votes (that is a lot for a TDG poll). And of course the comments section lit up with a range of emotions...
by JadeMonkey23 on Dec 5, 2010 6:31 PM CST
and Rencito even chose to take his anger out on me (though he may have been kidding (I think))
by rencito on Dec 6, 2010 6:49 PM CST 3 recs
There were also supporters and a lot of "give Kill a chance" comments, but by in large this hire was initially viewed as a failure on the part of Joel Maturi.
Ultimately the problem was Maturi's mishandling of the entire process which can be nailed down to his now infamous quote that the U was going to land a "Tubby Smith type hire". Here were his exact words that doomed this hiring process from a public relations standpoint before it ever got going.
"We're out here to find a Tubby Smith," Maturi said then, adding, "We're out here to find somebody that people can recognize, people have confidence in, and people are going to bring instant credibility and notoriety to the football program. That is my goal."
What Jerry Kill is not is a Tubby Smith type hire. He is not a household name, he is not a national championship winning coach and he was not coming from an elite program. He is a smart football guy, he is a guy with a loyal staff and he is a guy who has won at every stop.
On the surface this move was curious. Maturi knew that Gopher fans were clamoring for a big name. They wanted someone who could recruit well, who could develop players and produce a quality product that we could appreciate on Saturday afternoons. They desperately wanted a proven commodity who could restore this program to respectability and maybe even win a bunch more games. Gopher fans wanted a lot and on the surface they were given very little.
With all of that said, I believe that Kill was an outstanding hire. He didn't have the big name or the gaudy resume but he was exactly what Gopher Nation needed. Maturi gets ripped a lot and I will stop short of praising him for the Kill hire, but there is no doubt that it was a bold move.