Joe Christensen wrote this afternoon that officially the University of Minnesota and Jerry Kill have agreed to not agree on a permanent position for Coach Kill and the U.
Nobody from the University has made a comment on the situation but Joe C did speak with Coach Kill. This to me was the most intriguing line from the story.
"I visited with the president, and it was very professional in manner," Kill said. "He would like me to speak on behalf of the university, raise money and teach a class or two. I really appreciate that offer, but I want to be involved with athletics. I've been involved with athletics my whole life, and I want to be around the kids more than anything."
"That wasn't part of the offer. I understand that, but that was the deal-breaker for me."
I think that Jerry Kill as a University ambassador is a fantastic idea. Having him involved with fund raising and alumni relations or speaking engagements is exactly how I'd love to see him involved. And based on this quote, that is what President Kaler also had in mind but Jerry Kill wanted to be more involved in day-to-day athletics.
Jerry's desire to be around the kids and be in athletics. I can understand this desire, I can also understand the University's desire to use him as they see it best. There are obviously a LOT of details here that would really be valuable to know before making any judgements on the situation.
Does Jerry want a position within the athletic department? One that is more day-to-day than just fund raising and being a front-facing representative of the department? That gets touchy, especially when there is no permanent Athletic Director currently in place. So whether he is given control over some day-to-day operations or as a special advisor roll...hard to put a person of his stature into a role before his boss is hired.
Does Jerry desire a position that is still involved in football? Also a potentially difficult situation and possibly confusing for players recruited by Coach Kill and having played for him for a year or three.
Again...who knows? There are a lot of details left out here.
My personal opinion? I have tremendous respect for Jerry Kill and would love to see him continuing to be involved with the University in the best way possible. This seems to be a conflict of what is best for the University, in President Kaler's opinion, and what is best for the University in Jerry Kill's opinion (or what is best for Jerry Kill, which is understandable).
Personally I don't believe that this is a reason to freak out. Maybe one falls on the side of the argument that the University should do whatever they can to keep Jerry Kill involved. To that I'd ask, "why?" Jerry Kill has a lot of value and would be a fantastic representative of the University of Minnesota, in the right role. That role won't come together and this would not be a successful marriage if both parties don't agree upon what that role is and how valuable it would be to the University.
I'd bet that the door is not completely closed. Jerry Kill seems to leave the door open and when a new AD is in place it is entirely possible that something comes together to make both parties happy.
"I love the university," Kill said. "I'll always be a Gopher. If the university needs my help, I'm a phone call away."
I hope that one day things come together and Jerry Kill is involved on a regular basis, as long as it is in the right role.