As expected, new Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is acting quickly to fill out his staff. Kill announced five additions of assistant coaches Monday.
Kill's former team, Northern Illinois, wrapped up its season Saturday with an impressive bowl win against Fresno State, and Kill has plucked four assistants from the Huskies' staff. Kill already brought over coordinators Matt Limegrover (offense) and Tracy Claeys (defense) from Northern Illinois to Minnesota.
Here are the Gophers' new additions:
Jim Zebrowski, quarterbacks coach
Rob Reeves, H-backs and tight ends coach
Pat Poore, receivers coach
Jeff Phelps, defensive line coach
Bill Miller, assistant head coach/linebackers coach
Zebrowski, Reeves, Poore and Phelps all served on Kill's staff at Northern Illinois. Zebrowski, Poore and Phelps all served in the same capacity with the Huskies as they will with the Gophers, while Reeves coached running backs at NIU. Kill retained Thomas Hammock from the previous Minnesota staff to coach the running backs, but Reeves adds good expertise after helping mold NIU star Chad Spann into the MAC's Most Valuable Player this season.
Miller most recently served as Kansas' co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2009 under Mark Mangino. The 32-year coaching veteran made a previous stop in Minnesota as the Gophers' defensive backs coach from 1986-88.
None of these additions comes as a surprise. Kill stated from the beginning that he would likely bring in a group of assistants who have been with him for some time. He has a veteran staff of assistants, including several who did a very good job with Northern Illinois this past season.
Minnesota still has one assistant coach vacancy to fill. Northern Illinois defensive backs/special teams coach Jay Sawvel seems like a good possibility.
Kill's staff will have good chemistry. The next challenge is to get the same out of the team in 2011.