July 31, 2011
After being out of the sport for nearly six years, football coach Jerry Kill feels 'blessed' to start a new job in the Big 10, reports The Washington Post
," the first-year Gophers coach said Friday at the final Big Ten media day on Friday. "I don't know if you ever win that battle, but I am coaching and Im blessed to do that."
Kill underwent surgery and other treatments after receiving his kidney cancer diagnosis in late 2005 while coaching at Southern Illinois.
After surviving cancer, Kill began a Southern Illinois-based foundation to help low-income cancer patients pay for the expensive treatments
"I almost lost my life, so I don't understand anybody who gets up in the morning and is moaning and groaning and complaining," he said. "When you dont know if youre going to be there the next day you have a little change of thought.
"Life is short and you better take advantage of it."
While coaching seven seasons in Southern Illinois, his teams posted a record of 55-32. In 2008 Kill moved to Northern Illinois and his teams went 23-16 over the next three years with three bowl appearances, reports the source.
Late in 2010, Minnesota hired Kill who turns 50-years-old next month.
"I figured I'd (still) be at Southern Illinois. Once you get cancer you don't figure people are going to hire you. (But) Jim Phillips (then Northern Illinois athletic director now at Northwestern) rolled the dice on me and gave me the chance and he's probably the reason I'm around now."