Tracy Claeys is no longer the head coach at Minnesota, and the coach who indirectly gave him the job is white-hot mad about it.

Jerry Kill was the head coach of the Gophers through the middle of the 2015 season, when health reasons forced him to step down and Minnesota gave his job to Claeys. Claeys went 2-4 to close out the ’15 campaign, and then three things happened:

1) Minnesota hired a new athletics director, pulling Mark Coyle away from Syracuse.
2) The Gophers posted a 9-4 record, vastly exceeding expectations.
3) The players threatened to sit out the Holiday Bowl, which Claeys supported, before quickly backing away from their strike once learning the particulars of the situation they were protesting in the first place.

Coyle fired Claeys, and Kill is hopping mad about it.

“I was shocked,” Kill told the ESPN Radio affiliate in Minnesota, via NJ.com, “and I think the coaching profession was shocked.”

As an aside, a number of coaches have reached out to FootballScoop to register universal disgust at a coach being fired after a 9-win season.

“I won’t be stepping foot back in the stadium and I won’t stepping foot back at the university,” Kill said. “My wife and I. They are building a new complex and we had a lot to do with that, and we won’t ever see it.”

Kill is now the offensive coordinator at Rutgers, so the Big Ten schedule could compel him to break that promise unless remote play-calling technology hits the market in the near future. (For what it’s worth, a hypothetical Rutgers visit to TCF Bank Stadium wouldn’t occur until 2020 at the earliest.)

Kill expressed dismay at Claeys and his former assistants getting fired after a successful season, but also at the idea his entire tenure was being criticized by Coyle.

“The thing that disappoints me the most is going back over the last six years is he threw us all in there,” Kill said. “I feel like he threw me in there. We have done nothing but represent the state of Minnesota.”

Coyle and the new coach will have to work to stitch together a program that has ripped apart recently.

“Players don’t know the guy, coaches don’t know the guy,” Kill said. “To call people out like that, I don’t think that’s professional.”


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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.