BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech is adding a former three-time national coach of the year to its staff.

Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is joining the Hokies in a newly created role as special assistant to head coach Justin Fuente.

Kill, who is currently the athletic director at Southern Illinois, spent time with Tech’s coaching staff during fall camp. His visit created interest from both sides to expand the relationship.

“It was apparent that he possesses a passion for being involved with a football program on a daily basis,” Fuente said in a release. “I have all the respect in the world for Coach Kill. I’m excited that he’ll be an integral part of our program at Virginia Tech and can’t wait for him to get on campus.”

According to a press release, Kill will have a “myriad of duties” when he joins the the Hokies as they prepare for a game against Duke on Sept. 27 after a bye week.

“Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program...” Fuente said. “In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he’s served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities.”

Fuente has a long history with Kill going back to their time coaching at the FCS level (then Division 1-AA) in the early 00’s. Kill coached at Southern Illinois when Fuente was an offensive assistant at Illinois State, a pair of conference rivals that played annually.

Kill is also close with TCU coach Gary Patterson, who is one of Fuente’s longtime mentors. The two Kansas natives both coached under Dennis Franchione (Patterson replaced Kill as linebackers coach at Pittsburg State under Franchione) and developed a friendship.

Patterson offered Kill the offensive coordinator job when he got the job at TCU, a role that Fuente would eventually land years later.

“While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech,” Kill said in a release. “I’ve long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can’t wait to help the Hokies in any way I can.”

Kill has a long history of success as a head coach most recently at Minnesota where he was 29-29 with three bowl appearances. He was named the Big Ten coach of the year in 2014. He stepped down in 2015 for health reasons (epilepsy), but got back into coaching a year later with a brief stint as Rutgers offensive coordinator.

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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