MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gopher head coach Jerry Kill received a spirited show of support before Saturday’s game against San Jose State.
Hundreds of people gathered outside TCF Bank Stadium for a rally organized by the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota.
The outpour of support comes after Kill suffered a seizure during last week’s game. It was third time in the last three years he missed part of a game because of his epilepsy.
Some fans and a Star Tribune columnist questioned whether he should keep coaching, but season ticket holder Dawn Dahlberg says most stand behind Kill.
“We have total confidence in coach, and he’s doing everything that he needs to be doing for the kids and for the program. We just need to get behind him and support him,” Dahlberg said.
At the Saturday morning pre-game rally, Coach Kill was showered with encouragement as he made his way into the stadium. Fans wore t-shirts that read ‘Jerrysota,’ and others held signs reading “I Am a Coach Kill Fan.”
Kill appeared to be touched by it all.
“Well I appreciate it, there’s no question about that. We got great people here in our state of Minnesota,” Kill said.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, Kill is one of 60,000 people living with the disorder in the state. Families impacted by epilepsy say he’s a great example of what can be achieved while living with seizures.
For Paul and Lisa Muenier of Ham Lake this is personal. Their 14-year-old daughter Hannah was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 6.
“We made a special effort to get down here,” Paul said.
She suffers from seizures about once a week. Her latest one happened in school during computer class.
“It’s nice to know that people aren’t alone with epilepsy,” says Hannah.
Her parents say they brought her to the rally to see that, and to show her that life is what you make of it.
“To have coach Kill be a champion and stand up, continue to fight, face the nay sayers and move forward and continue to coach and strive and do the best that he can do – it’s really an important thing for people like Hannah and us,” Paul said.