LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico State head coach Jerry Kill will return to his old stomping grounds at Minnesota on Thursday and one of many pregame question is whether or not Kill and current Golden Gophers coach PJ Fleck will shake hands postgame.

All of this has arisen in the last few days after Kill recently told a Minnesota publication that he wasn’t sure if he’d shake Fleck’s hand.

The two have had arguments in the years since Kill left Minnesota due to health issues in 2015. NMSU fans may remember that Kill had a seizure on the Minnesota sidelines during a game vs. the Aggies in 2011.

Kill has made his feelings about Fleck – who is a former employee of Kill’s – known over the years. In a 2019 radio interview he insinuated that Fleck was selfish and egotistical for how he treated some of Kill’s former Minnesota staff when fleck took over from Western Michigan.

Since making the handshake comments a couple weeks ago, Kill said after Saturday’s loss to Nevada that he didn’t want Thursday’s game to be about him, but on Tuesday he said he understands why fans and media alike are so intrigued by his return.

“I don’t know why everyone has blown this up about shaking hands. That’s the last thing I have to worry about is shaking hands and Coach Fleck,” Kill said. “He worked for me for a year so it’s not like I don’t know him. Social media just grows and grows over those things; someone should be making money off of it and if they’re not I feel bad, they should. I’m not worried about all that stuff. I’m going there to coach a football game.”

Kill downplayed his comments on Tuesday and Fleck did a similar thing last week in his pregame press conference.

“I’ve been a head coach 10 years and I’ve never not shaken the hand of a head football coach. There’s a tradition that goes back 100 years ago of coaches meeting at midfield,” said Fleck.

Kill’s return will be broadcast on national television by the Big Ten Network, so there will be plenty of eyes on the 50-yard line at the conclusion of Thursday’s game. The Aggies and Gophers kickoff at 7 p.m. MT that night in Minneapolis.