PJ Fleck + Jerry Kill Handshake Will Happen

Fleck Photo: John Autey (AP) // Kill Photo: Kill Photo: Nathan J. Fish (USA TODAY News)

Jerry Kill hates the University of Minnesota and he certainly doesn’t like its 6th-year head football coach, PJ Fleck. We all know the story, at this point.

Kill stepped down as Gophers head coach because of recurring seizures that stemmed from an epilepsy disorder. His protege and long-time defensive coordinator, Tracy Claeys, took over as Minnesota’s head coach for the next 1.5 seasons. After a 9-4 season in 2016, new Athletic Director Mark Coyle fired Claeys for a variety of reasons.

Handshake or No Handshake?

All of that led to Jerry Kill’s infamous radio comments on SKOR North about how he’d “never step foot inside that stadium again” and how PJ Fleck, “isn’t about his players, he’s about himself”. But to Jerry’s chagrin, he will return to Dinkytown. On Thursday, as head coach of the visiting New Mexico State Aggies.

Naturally, Kill has already began to make the media rounds, locally. And one question he hasn’t been willing to answer is whether or not he will shake hands with Fleck after the matchup next week.

Shaver: “Will you shake his hand, when you walk on the field in Minnesota?”

Kill: “I wish I knew what was going to happen when I get there and everything and, you know, we’ll let it play out and so forth.”

Randy Shaver Interview (KARE – CH.11)

But lucky for Jerry, he won’t have to make the decision on whether or not to shake PJ’s hand at midfield. Because, on the other side of the field, the Minnesota Gophers have a head coach who acts like an adult.

We still do not know how Fleck feels about Kill, and we likely never will. Because he’s never going to tell us. PJ took the high-road back in 2017, when Jerry talked his shit, and he will continue to do the same thing this week.

When asked if he will shake Jerry Kill’s hand on Thursday, PJ Fleck was taken aback. Of course he would shake hands, because that’s what head football coaches do. And he’s been a head football coach for 10 years. All of which have been filled with weekly handshakes. Thursday’s handshake is happening, even if PJ has to find Jerry himself.

“Listen, I’ve been a head coach for 10 years. I’ve never not shaken the hand of a head football coach. I think there’s a there’s a tradition of 100 years ago of coaches meeting at midfield…but I’ve been head coach 10 years guys, and haven’t not shaken one head coach’s hand in my entire career. I might have to go find a guy.”PJ Fleck (via 247Sports)

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan