Head coach Chris Ash has officially announced Jerry Kill as the new offensive coordinator of Rutgers football. In the press release distributed by the athletic department, Ash had this to say of Kill:
“I am excited to welcome Jerry and his family to Rutgers,” said Ash. “Jerry brings years of experience and tremendous leadership to our offense. He is a veteran Big Ten coach and a proven winner. Our players and coaches will benefit from his wealth of knowledge.”
While details of the contract, including years and salary, were not officially announced, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media tweeted the following report:
Jerry Kill contract at #Rutgers is 3-year deal. $600K in Year 1. $625K in Year 2. $650K in Year 3. Per Sources.— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) December 19, 2016
That salary would make Kill the highest paid assistant coach for any sport in Rutgers athletic’s history. It would mark a $150K increase from what previous OC Drew Mehringer was on salary for last season. During the call, Kill made it clear he was committed to Rutgers and not looking to jump to a head coaching position. Ash gave indications he and Kill are aligned well to work effectively together.
In Dunleavy’s article on the hiring, he also confirms that Kill will be installed as the quarterbacks coach, in addition to his role as offensive coordinator. Mehringer did the same, but was a quarterback himself and had coached the position previously. Kill has never held that role specifically before. Also, it was stated that Kill will handle full recruiting responsibilities typical of an OC. Adding Kill with defensive coordinator Jay Niemann now gives Ash two veteran presences for him to lean on from both sides of the ball.
The article from Dunleavy also stated that Kill will start at Rutgers in January and he is staying with Kansas State through their bowl game later this month. Kill has been in a chief adminstrator role for the football program at the Big 12 school this past season.
The press release highlighted offensive ranks from Minnesota’s 2014 season, when Kill was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Under Kill's direction, Minnesota won eight games in both 2013 and 2014, which marked only the fifth time since 1906 that Minnesota won eight games in consecutive seasons. The 2014 offense ranked 12th nationally in passing yards per completion (14.52), 28th in rushing offense (215.5), 29th in sacks allowed (1.62) and 32nd in red zone offense (.878). Kill coached the Big Ten tight end of the year in Maxx Williams and the Big Ten punter of the year in Peter Mortell. In total, five Gophers were named All-Big Ten First Team, the most since 2004.
On a teleconference this afternoon with Kill and Ash, Dunleavy tweeted a few answers regarding his health concerns:
Jerry Kill: I needed some time to see the right people and get on the right diet and get healthy. #Rutgers— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) December 19, 2016
Jerry Kill: I've been seizure free for a long time and this is the best I've felt over a long time. #Rutgers— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) December 19, 2016
For a profile on Kill from last month detailing his current health, click here.
One interesting connection with Kill that Dunleavy made yesterday, was that he actually coached Madei Williams at Southern Illinois. Williams is a coach/consultant who works with quarterbacks, including incoming 3-star recruit Johnathan Lewis, whose commitment to the program seems firm after his statements last week. Here is a quote from Williams on Kill’s expertise with the spread offense in Dunleavy’s article.
"When (the spread) was at its infant stage, he was one of the coaches that implemented it,''' Williams said. "Back in 2001, not too many programs were running it. You had some (major-level) programs like Northwestern and Clemson doing it, but it really grew out of most of the schools having success with it at the Division II level. Jerry has 20-plus years of experience running that system. So I really think he's going to bring a lot of expertise and stability to that offensive unit.''
You have to believe that Williams has spoken highly of Kill to Lewis and it will hopefully make him excited to play for his new coordinator. The relationship between Kill and Lewis will likely be essential to the future success of the Rutgers offense in the coming years.
While we speculated on candidates for the job in the past few days, here and here, news broke last night by 247 Sports - The Chop Nation that Kill was Ash’s choice. I weighed the pro’s and con’s of the hire here. One thing worth noting, regardless of whether you agree with the hire or not, is that Ash acted swiftly. He essentially completed the search and hire in about a week’s time. It’s fair to argue whether a large enough candidate pool for Ash to chose from was considered, but at least this didn’t drag on too long. As I said before, Kill isn’t the perfect hire, but there is no perfect candidate. Kill isn’t a splashy hire in the sense that he brings gaudy stats with him to Piscataway, he does bring a lot of experience and had success at Minnesota with a program that lacked elite recruits. He led them to back to back 8-5 seasons in 2013 and 2014.
Todderick Hunt of NJ Advance Media spoke with several commits for the class of 2017 for Rutgers about the Kill hiring here. There was a lot of positive feedback from them.
We will have a lot more coverage on Kill in the days to follow, including a statistical breakdown, a Q&A with our friends at SB Nation’s The Daily Gopher, a staff round table with contributor reactions and more. Tell us what you think of the hire in the comments below.