Jerry Kill is looking to his past to guide the future of the Minnesota football program.
The new head coach filled out his staff over winter break, and of the eight new position coaches and coordinators, seven have previous coaching experience with Kill.
Bill Miller, who will serve assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the Gophers, is the lone newcomer with no experience under Kill, but the two grew up just 30 minutes from each other and have become very familiar during their coaching careers.
“It helps us hit this thing running, because they’ve all been through this process at other places,” Kill said, adding the importance of keeping Thomas Hammock and Dan O’Brien on from the previous staff. “We have a nice mixture [to] go where we need to go.”
While filling out his staff, Kill has also been working to fill the incoming recruiting class, the sixth-ranked group in the Big Ten according to rivals.com.
Kill wasn’t available for comment, but he said last month that former interim head coach Jeff Horton helped transition into the recruiting cycle by convincing recruits to stay committed after Tim Brewster’s termination.
Kill also met with about 25 former players over the break to discuss the program’s future, something that some players felt was missing under previous coaches.
“We haven’t had the open-door policy to come in and be able to meet the head coach and to be interactive with the players,” former quarterback Rickey Foggie said. “So I think this is a great step in the right direction just to have some of the older guys to get reacquainted with the University.”
Kill invited the alumni to spring practices, something that is still a few months down the line. Until then, Kill is beginning to feel less like a newcomer every day.