The most prominent offseason tradition for the Rutgers football team returns for a ninth offseason.
Offensive coordinator Jerry Kill will not return to his position next season due to health reasons, the school announced Tuesday.
The Scarlet Knight enter 2018 with a ninth offensive coordinator in nine seasons. The search for Kill’s replacement is a national one and is already underway, according to NJ Advance Media’s Ryan Dunleavy.
"I want to thank Chris Ash and Pat Hobbs for giving me the opportunity to coach at Rutgers," Kill said in a statement. "I would also like to thank the players, the Rutgers family, fans and media for everything they have done for Rebecca and I. This program is definitely headed in the right direction with coach Ash and I know that firsthand. I enjoyed the year being an assistant coach and had a ton of fun with the players and coaches.
I hope that through my 34 years of coaching that I was able to be a positive influence on young people because that is truly why I coach. I want to thank all the players for what they have done for me. I appreciate and love all of the people that are part of my family.”
Players were informed of the decision in a meeting last week, according to 247Sports’ Sam Hellman.
"I would like to thank Jerry, Rebecca and their entire family for everything they did for our program, both on and off the field,” Ash said. “Jerry had a great impact on our coaching staff and was a tremendous influence on all of our players. I wish Jerry and his wife the best and they will always be part of our Rutgers family.”
The decision marks the end of a 34-year coaching career for Kill, who brought his patented Big Ten style of offense to the Banks. The Scarlet Knights operated with a run-heavy offense under Kill, which resulted in 147 rushing yards per game and played a major role in their 18 points per game average.
One prominent issue Kill was unable to fix in his time with Rutgers is the program’s recent struggles in the passing game under Ash. The Scarlet Knights ranked 124th in the country in passing yards per game with an average of 115 per contest. The seven teams that ranked worse than them all run the triple-option.
Still, Rutgers fared far better under Kill than it did in Ash’s first season. The Scarlet Knights finished 4-8 and won three Big Ten games for the first time since 2014.
This isn’t the first time Kill’s health forced him out of the job he loves.
Kill retired as the head coach of Minnesota in 2015 after five seasons at the helm in Minneapolis due to his epilepsy. He spent a season at Kansas State in an administrative role prior to his return to coaching for Rutgers in 2017.
Kill worked to spread awareness for the disorder with his charity fund, Chasing Dreams.
“I don’t have any regrets and I’ve had a blessed career,” Kill said. “I love this game and all the coaches that I’ve worked with. They have all made Jerry Kill a better man. I know that I did it the right way and I did it my way. I gave everything I had to the game, I just ran out of juice.”
To read about the importance of Chris Ash’s next hire for offensive coordinator, click here.