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Published: Sunday, 10/6/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

WOLVERINES NOTEBOOK

Seizure keeps Minnesota’s Kill home

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
UM players Jarrod Wilson (22) and Courtney Avery (11) knock the ball loose from Gophers' QB Mitch Leidner. UM players Jarrod Wilson (22) and Courtney Avery (11) knock the ball loose from Gophers' QB Mitch Leidner.
BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge

ANN ARBOR — By the time the Michigan football team had gathered in the team hotel in preparation for Saturday’s game against Minnesota, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke learned the news that eventually rippled through college football during the day.

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill had suffered a seizure Saturday morning in Minnesota, before the Golden Gophers’ Big Ten game against Michigan at Ann Arbor.

In a release posted on its website Saturday afternoon, the Minnesota athletic department announced that Kill did not travel to Ann Arbor with the Golden Gophers.

"Coach Kill was not feeling well on Friday morning and decided to meet the team in Ann Arbor on Saturday," Minnesota’s athletic department said in the statement. "He then suffered a seizure on Saturday morning and will remain at home in Minnesota for today's game."

Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague addressed Kill’s absence and the third-year coach’s condition after Minnesota’s 42-13 loss to Michigan.

“It concerns me for him,” Teague said. “He’s managing it, and trying to find ways to manage it better.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, with the timing, but he’s doing OK.”

Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys served as Minnesota’s acting head coach and said he received a text message from Kill’s wife, Rebecca, before the game.

“She texted me and said her and Jerry miss being here, and miss being around it, and to do our best to bring the jug back to Minnesota,” Claeys said.

Hoke said he planned to reach out to Kill after Saturday’s game, and said his wife got in touch with Kill’s wife during the afternoon.

In an interview this summer with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kill, 52, declined to say how many seizures he’d had since November of 2012, but told reporters last October that he estimated that he suffered between 15-20 seizures a year — including one in Minnesota’s locker room Oct. 13, 2012, after a loss to Northwestern.

Kill is also a cancer survivor: He was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005 while he was coaching at Southern Illinois.

“I’ve had a lot of people who’ve talked and so forth, from coaches, to kids, to people who have epilepsy, who’ve had situations like mine,” Kill said last year, before facing Michigan in Minneapolis.

“You pass along your experiences, and you have to take care of yourself and listen to the people that care about you.”

KOVACS PROMOTED: The Miami Dolphins announced Saturday that former Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs has been activated to the 53-man roster.

The Dolphins host the Baltimore Ravens at 1 p.m. today at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Kovacs, a Clay graduate, joined the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in April and began the season on Miami's practice squad. Kovacs is expected to play on special teams for the Dolphins.

HELMET DECALS: Michigan wore decals that read “LHS” on the back of its winged helmets in honor of the late Lucas Higgins Stenavich, the son of graduate assistant Adam Stenavich and his wife, Katie. Lucas Stenavich died Sept. 27, less than three months after he was born. A cause of death was not given.

Adam Stenavich played offensive tackle for the Wolverines from 2001-05 and was a two-time All-Big Ten offensive tackle.

THEY’RE NO. 2: A Harris Interactive survey released Saturday by CNBC.com named Michigan as the second-most popular college football team behind Notre Dame.

The poll of 2,045 adults, done in August, placed Notre Dame and Michigan ahead of Ohio State, Texas, and Penn State in the top 5.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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