Joel Maturi has recently returned to Minneapolis with Jerry Kill, the fruit of a seven month search for a replacement head coach for the Gopher football program
Kill previously held the position of head coach at Northern Illinois University, where he led the team to a bowl game all three years of his tenure there, WCCO News reports. It seems that Maturi fulfilled his promise to bring a head coach with experience in the field, though he isn't the big name the program was hoping for.
Kill has already demonstrated some level of competence to fans at TCF Bank Stadium. While coaching Northern Illinois, Kill led the team to a 34-23 victory over the Gophers earlier this year.
Kill also coached at Southern Illinois, Emporia State, and Saginaw Valley State University before Northern Illinois. He doesn't have any experience in a conference as competitive as the Big 10, but he promises to pour himself into his new role in Minnesota. "I can promise all the people at the University of Minnesota and throughout the entire state that I am going to give them every single ounce that I can give them," Kill said in a statement released by the U.
Fan reaction has been less than optimal, said KSTP Eyewitness News. Though several fans interviewed in person expressed excitement at the possibility of a turnaround for the Gophers, many more posted to the team's facebook page to express their outrage and disappointment at the hire. Some vowed that they would not purchase season tickets for the 2011 season, one poster even going so far as to say "I have never seen a football program aspire to mediocrity."
Kill certainly has his work cut out for him. Inheriting a program that went 3-9 last season, it seems that he'll be rebuilding from the ground up. He has a history of repairing struggling programs, though, leading the Huskies to back-to-back-to-back bowl appearances during his time there and posting winning records at all of his previous positions, too. Whether he'll be able to do the same with the Gophers and quell the criticism leveled at him, only time will tell.