Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Epilepsy spurs coach to retire

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill abruptly and tearfully retired Wednesday, saying his epilepsy had become too draining for him to continue his exhaustive effort to turn the program into a Big Ten power.

Kill told his staff and his players of his heart-wrenching decision in morning meetings, then he sat behind the podium used for postgame news conferences and spoke, his Kansas drawl quivering often, for nearly a half-hour about just how hard it will be for him to stop coaching.

"I ain't done anything else. That's the scary part," Kill said, pausing several times to keep from breaking down.

Kill, 54, said he had two seizures this week but went to practice Tuesday, hoping he could still make it work. But the toll on his body, his mind and his family had become too big. Kill said he hasn't slept more than three hours on any night over the past three weeks.

"I went through a bad situation two years ago, and I'm headed right back there," Kill said.

His wife, Rebecca, has been staying up all night to monitor him in case of another seizure. "Hell, that ain't no way to live," her husband said.

Kill missed at least a portion of five games in his first three seasons at Minnesota due to seizures, including one that occurred on the field against New Mexico State in the 2011 home opener and another during halftime against Michigan State the next year. He also had game-day seizures in 2001 and 2005 as coach at Southern Illinois.

Kill took a leave of absence in 2013, spending time with a specialist in Michigan that helped him make progress in dealing with the disorder. Kill even said in July that he had been seizure-free for the previous 18 months and was able to make it through the entire 2014 season without one.

Kill had a career record of 156-102 as a coach, 29-29 in four-plus seasons at Minnesota. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Kill's retirement came just three days after Timberwolves executive and coach Flip Saunders, a former Gophers basketball star, died of complications from Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Kill, whose seizure at Southern Illinois in 2005 led doctors to discover he had kidney cancer, said the death of Saunders was on his mind as he made the difficult decision.

Miami DT charged

CORAL GABLES — Miami reserve defensive tackle Michael Wyche has been suspended indefinitely from the team after being charged with misdemeanor battery in what police said was a domestic violence incident. The senior was arrested around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday — his 23rd birthday — and was being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami on $1,500 bond, with court records showing his arraignment is set for Nov. 18. He was still in custody Wednesday night, officials said. He was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim, his girlfriend of five years. They have a child together, police said.

ILLINOIS: Sophomore receiver Mike Dudek will apply for a medical redshirt after missing most of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

LOUISVILLE: Larry Wilder, an attorney for self-described "escort queen" Katina Powell, said that because he fears she will be "the scapegoat," she won't cooperate with either the university or NCAA probes without an immunity deal protecting her from prosecution. Powell has been under fire after she alleged in her book, Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, that she arranged for strippers for basketball recruits and players at parties that sometimes involved prostitution. She also said two of her daughters were among the strippers and both publicly claimed to have had sex with players. Powell claims she was paid $10,000 and game tickets to arrange the parties by former UL basketball staffer Andre McGee, who has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

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