LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – After dealing with what he called a, “rough week,” in the lead-up to New Mexico State’s 27-17 win over New Mexico last Saturday, Aggies head coach Jerry Kill said he was feeling better and in good spirits on Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
The second-year head coach missed multiple practices and did not speak with the media last week due to a medical issue. He was on the sidelines for the rivalry clash in Albuquerque, but he wasn’t entirely himself.
Kill said on Tuesday that he had to get IVs at halftime in order to continue coaching that night. Then, he did not speak with the media postgame due to exhaustion. However, on Tuesday he looked and said he felt better.
“I’m doing ok, it was a rough week but everyone has rough weeks and has things that happen, everyone has problems,” Kill said. “I’ve been taught to keep fighting, keep going. It’s not the first time that I’ve had to battle it at one time or another. I’m a little bit sore but it was worth every bit of it (seeing the Aggies win.”
Kill added that he was thankful for his players for having his back and fighting on his behalf to win the game. The Aggies all said postgame that seeing him on the sidelines was motivating; Kill said Tuesday that that was a great compliment.
NMSU has not disclosed exactly what ailed him last week, but Kill is no stranger to health issues. He had to retire from coaching at Minnesota in 2015 due to epilepsy. He’s taken better care of himself since then, but the condition has never gone away completely.
“The Minnesota thing, I was never the same after. I chose to retire because I could not function at all. People know, but I’ve never quit,” Kill said. “I’ve got things under control much, much better, but every once in awhile things happen in life. I’ve been through it enough that you just keep battling.”
During the game, things weren’t easy for Kill for reasons other than the initial medical issue. Two players – one Aggie, one Lobo – collided with Kill in the first half of Saturday’s game, leaving him with a bloody nose and bruises, but otherwise ok.
Kill said on Tuesday that he was still sore from the hit, but made light of it.
“When you see that, you’ll say, ‘that old man’s tough,'” Kill said with a laugh. “I told the players that I set the best example. I don’t know if you’ll ever see a coach get hit like that. A player was limping around today and I said, ‘I got out there and coached, you can go play.’ I’ve got a lot of leverage now.”
Kill also joked that after the week he had, plus a 2-0 record over the Lobos and a bowl win last season that NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia owed him a lifetime contract with the Aggies.
“I got a tattoo, I took the biggest hit he’s ever seen, I coached when I wasn’t supposed to coach. I’m the only guy in the country getting IVs at halftime and taking two shots to survive the damn deal so I can go back out at halftime. I think that guy deserves a lifetime contract, don’t you?” Kill said before laughing once more.
Kill added in his Tuesday press availability that Penn State transfer Jamari Buddin was no longer with the Aggies. A former four-star recruit at linebacker, Buddin hadn’t factored into the NMSU rotation in the first three games and wasn’t with the Aggies in Albuquerque last week.
New Mexico State will hope to have Kill at 100 percent before they travel to play Hawaii on the road on Saturday as 2.5-point underdogs. The game will kick off at 10 p.m. MT in Honolulu.