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Originally published March 8, 2010 at 12:00a.m., updated March 8, 2010 at 08:45a.m.

Gill settling in

New Jayhawks coach making himself at home

Jay, left, and Bonnie Breidenthal, right, of Bonner Springs, watch as former Kansas University football standout John Hadl, second from left, greets KU coach Turner Gill during a national-signing-day event Wednesday at the Oread Hotel.

Jay, left, and Bonnie Breidenthal, right, of Bonner Springs, watch as former Kansas University football standout John Hadl, second from left, greets KU coach Turner Gill during a national-signing-day event Wednesday at the Oread Hotel.

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Kansas head football coach Turner Gill leans over the railing to greet Jayhawk fans Kris Wilcoxson, Lawrence, center, and Dave Benedict, Lenexa, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University football coach Turner Gill wants you to know two things about his first few months in Lawrence.

First, his new town does not yet feel like home.

“No,” Gill said. “And I say no in a quick way just because my wife (Gayle) and our youngest daughter (Margaux) are not here. And because I don’t have a home-home. But time will take care of that, and it will definitely feel like home once we all get here together.”

Second, settling into the new town, team, program and university is not something Gill has attacked alone.

“I think the great thing about it is (the adjustment) has been very, very efficient,” he said. “The administration and everybody here has been helping us, this whole staff, because it’s not just about me, it’s about this whole staff adjusting, and that’s been outstanding.”

A little less than three months have passed since Gill, 47, officially was introduced as the newest KU football coach. Although he has yet to move into a permanent residence and has spent as many days on the road recruiting as waking up in the town he now calls home, so much has happened to Gill since accepting the KU job in early December.

A fan base has fallen in love with him. Critics have questioned his credentials and wondered whether he’s ready for such a high-profile job. Players have come and gone. Coaches have come and gone, too. Through it all, Gill has stood up to the public image he arrived with — that of a coach whom people call “a good man” and “a great person” long before any other adjectives leave their lips.

He goes about his day in the same way those who know him best have come to expect.

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Turner Gill’s home away from home — his office.

“Same guy that I met back in Lincoln, Neb., six years ago,” said KU special-teams coordinator Aaron Stamn, who coached with Gill at Nebraska and in Buffalo. “He’s the same guy, just a different town. I will say this, though, he’s got a new little energy about himself. He’s kind of charged up right now. We still haven’t practiced or played, but he’s kind of got that little extra excitement right now.”

Who could blame him? Thanks to the university’s commitment to football in recent years, Gill’s new surroundings are a far cry from what he was used to in Buffalo. From his spacious and luxurious corner office that overlooks Memorial Stadium and the east side of the KU campus to the immaculate Anderson Family Football Complex he strolls into each day, every step Gill has taken has been filled with a reminder that this is the big time.

But none of it has fazed him.

“He’s just very consistent,” Stamn said. “The way he carries himself and handles himself around people, he doesn’t change his moods or anything like that.”

Added Reggie Mitchell, KU’s running-backs coach and recruiting coordinator: “He’s comfortable here.”

And Mitchell isn’t just talking about the friendly confines of the football facility. He’s talking about Kansas University, Lawrence, the Midwest and the Big 12. The reason?

“The people,” Gill said. “Just like anything, when you’re asked a question about what you like about this place or that place, I would hope that everyone would say something about the people. The people here are hard-working, genuine. They want to help others. You can just sense it and feel it.”

The look on his face when talking about these people almost gives the impression that Gill also is describing himself. He certainly has been blitzed by the buzz since arriving at KU, hob-nobbing and shaking hands with whomever asks one minute and hitting the recruiting trail hard the next.

“He’s said it to numerous people, ‘It’s our program,’” Stamn said. “He fully embraces everybody who has the energy and excitement to want to be a part of the program. When you look at it, it is a community, and there is a following, and he brings a great energy to it that gets people excited.”

He’s also worked hard. But that’s just Gill doing what he knows best, harnessing that inner drive that led him to a 28-2 record as a starting quarterback at Nebraska, then to his first head-coaching opportunity at Buffalo and, ultimately, to Kansas.

For Gill, the thing that remains highest on his to-do list is to get his new team, which reports for spring drills on March 27, heading in the direction he believes is right.

“He can do it,” Stamn said. “He will do it.”

• A previous version of this story was updated.

Comments

Kman_blue 4 years, 8 months ago

Nice article here Matt! It certainly helps keep us involved in some way with the goings on of the football program while we wait for spring ball to start and ultimately the regular season this fall. Keep them coming!

Kevin Kelly 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey I got an idea. Let's set the date for the spring game and then, perhaps, run a story on it so that people who don't live in Eastern Kansas might have a chance to see the team play.

I've seen nothing posted on this on KUsports or on the Universities Web Site.

Some of your most devoted fans come very far to see their team. Help them be the fans they want to be.

MitchumMan 4 years, 8 months ago

NEJhawk - I was told that the Spring Game is on April 24th. I haven't seen it published anywhere but just like you, I asked and someone told me on this very site. Hope to see you there!

Jesse Newell 4 years, 8 months ago

MitchumMan is right. April 24 is the date of the Spring Game.

gongs4ku 4 years, 8 months ago

"His goes about his day in the same way those who know him best have come to expect."

His/He

gongs4ku 4 years, 8 months ago

"His goes about his day in the same way those who know him best have come to expect."

His/He

Steve Corder 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes indeed KmanBlue; a very nice article Matt.

Tim Bingaman 4 years, 8 months ago

Any body know where I could get a beautiful blue button down shirt with an embroidered Jayhawk on it, like Coach Gill has on? Golf shirts don't cut it every day and during this time of year, I need all the smart hawk gear I can get.

Rock Chalk

Funhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Great read! Amazing how chosing a different coach can change an atmosphere. I want to be more like Coach Gill!

milehighhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Beautiful photograph of Gill's office....door.

RossChalk 4 years, 8 months ago

Coach Gill - leave the unis alone - they are great as is and have absolutely zero to do with the team concept or individualism. Change the offense first - then worry about the uniforms.

gdo_kc 4 years, 8 months ago

Timmy..... Weaver's downtown usually has these shirts....in multiple colors.

Kevin Kelly 4 years, 8 months ago

Well as a KU Alumni from Nebraska, I'm a big Gill suporter. I just wish something OFFICIAL about the spring game would be announced so I don't have to plan a trip accross state lines based on the comments section of the local newspaper. My April is starting to fill up and I just wish the administration took itself serioiusly when it came to this sort of thing. How hard can it be to keep a calander on the official website with this sort of information? Why act rinky-dink in every single aspect of the game?

PERKINS AND GILL...please get with it and make an announcement.

Rivethead 4 years, 8 months ago

"I will say this, though, he’s got a new little energy about himself. He’s kind of charged up right now. We still haven’t practiced or played, but he’s kind of got that little extra excitement right now.”

I'm betting getting his salary quadrupled has a lot to do with that! Plus nicer office, nicer facilities, and not being in Canada.

MitchumMan 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I'd say getting paid $5,479 a day would get me a little engergized as well. lol

FredGarvin 4 years, 8 months ago

University of Kansas will be well-served by Coach Gill. I wish Kansas football nothing but success except when they play Nebraska. Coach Gill may wear blue on the sidelines but he will always be a Cornhusker. Good Luck - Coach Gill!!

NebraskaJayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

FredGarvin-

Turner Gill will probably always be a Texan too (since that's where he is from--not Nebraska). He will also always be a Jayhawk once he settles in and coaches the next 15 years in Lawrence (and owns the Huskers in the process).

Rivethead 4 years, 8 months ago

Thanks Fred....your point is exactly my concern.

MitchumMan 4 years, 8 months ago

Rivethead - You don't HAVE to be concerned. Maybe Gill will one day want to leave KU and go to NU, but maybe he won't. Are you concerned that Bill Self is going to leave KU for OSU? I'm not. My advice - Don't worry about "what ifs", worry about 2010.

kranny 4 years, 8 months ago

You smell that..I love the smell of cynicism in the morning. Smells even better when those who deliver it eat their words later.

Rivethead 4 years, 8 months ago

Mitchum:

You're comparision doesn't work. KU is an elite (perhaps THE elite) basketball destination. KU is hardly a destination for football, despite the ginormous amount of money Lew is throwing at the program to make it seem so.

Plus, Coach Gill doesn't have anything resembling a real buyout clause in his employment contract. This guy can bolt at will, essentially.

The last thing I want is for KU to be the farm club for NU football's future coaching staff. I think it's a valid concern. If Pelini fails it will be, in part, because he couldn't compete with Gill's teams. And the bugeaters just will not stand for that.

phoginnebr 4 years, 8 months ago

I am not all heped up with Gill right now. I will reserve that for later. I do agree with you rivethead, and I do think that will happen. Osborne just wants to get Gill some experience and sees what he can do because I don't Pelini will cut it the way NU fans want it and some enough. Gill would be a good pluckings for NU. You know the corncobs want a turn around right away. This is why I am not a fan of Gill. So JAYHAWK fans be alert and watch which way the wind blows up here in corncob land.

jhokfan 4 years, 8 months ago

Thanks to Mangino, this is a better program than what Coach Gill's predecessors inherited. Next step is to consistently win 7, 8 and 9 games a year. Given the current landscape of college football there is no reason why we can not go bowling on a regular basis. I would consider that a successful program and hopefully that will be enough to satisfy our fan base. I get a bit squeamish when people talk dynasty and national championship. Let's learn to walk before we try running.

JBurtin 4 years, 8 months ago

On the flipside, I haven't gotten the impression that Gill was quite as loyal as he used to be to NU. Remember that not only was he passed up twice for their head coaching job. . .he was also demoted by Callahan after 18 years of service to the program.

Further, it's not as if KU has a great coaching tree to pluck from to get our own coach. Any good coach that KU can land will have ties to a good program out there somewhere, or will be tempted by NFL money.

I'd say finding a Big Twelve guy that wants to live and coach in the midwest is a pretty good fit. You never know, if we make a good enough home for him here he just might decide to stick around.

JayhawkBigXII 4 years, 8 months ago

It's a fact that Gill got snubbed by Osborne when he hired Pelini. I don't think Gill will forget that any time soon. I also think the NU job isn't what it used to be, in that you are immediately on the hot seat from day one. I believe the Kansas program fits Gill's personality better, and I believe he will make a home in Lawrence. He has an opportunity to build himself into a coaching legend at KU, whereas at Nebraska, the AD is already the legend. So let's see what TG can do... then we'll talk.

Rivethead 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Osbourne has been very upfront about choosing Pelini over Gill. He's quoted as saying calling Gill to tell him he did NOT get the job was one of the hardest things he's ever done. As such, I don't think Gill holds any animosity over that.

Remember, the current KU football coach talks to the current NU AD at least once every two weeks. They're best friends.

That makes this Jayhawk a wee bit nervous.

Jonathan Briles 4 years, 8 months ago

I fail to understand why everyone is so upset with Gill and Nebraska. Every program in the nation has to deal with this type of thing. Most every coach is always looking for greener pastures no matter how green the one's they are on are. Look at USC and Pete Carrol was a fantastic coach with a great program and he left. Tennessee lost LK to USC even though Tennessee has some pretty good history. Teams are always getting and losing coaches its part of the game. If we can have Gill for 3 or 4 years I'll be happy. You are also not looking at the fact that if Nebraska takes a chance and tries to steal Gill away that means that he has done a great job here. If he has done a great job and taken us to a new level then we can go and get another great coach. There is nothing to worry about. Just enjoy the ride and embrace what is now.

MitchumMan 4 years, 8 months ago

Rivethead - watch out for those black helicopters too! The government...they're watching you! :)

It seems to me that you're always going to be suspecious. Name a coach right now that you wouldn't be suspicious about? From the sounds of it, you almost need a KU alum to take over. Well I don't see very many qualified ex-Jayhawks that could take over this program.

And let's say Gill does get snatched from KU by NU. What does that mean? That means that KU has consistantly took it to NU and the rest of the Big XII North. If that's the case and Gill does leave, don't you think that we would have more options at higher profile coaches looking at KU? I sure do. Plus, we pay great!

But for now, do we really need to be arguing about this? I mean the guy hasn't even played a game yet. For all we know, he could lose every game. Gosh I hope that doesn't happen! RCJH!!!

Kevin Kelly 4 years, 8 months ago

Nervous???

It makes me laugh. I want my coach to have contacts with all the AD's in the Big 12. Everybody should put in a call to Gill every once and a while. If Gill does such a good job that everyone, NU included, is gunning for him then THANK GOD FOR THAT!

It would only be one of the best things to happen to KU football. We need that kind of sucess and, yes, loosing your coach comes with that success when you are talking about a team like KU.

I'll tell you what makes NU fans nervous. A basketball school with Turner Gill as its head football coach. How's the non-revenue generating sport doing up in Linocln? What's Doc Sadler brining to that university?

Yeah....

I'M the one who's scared. That makes sense.

Rivethead 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't know. It must be an age thing. I think some of you just aren't old enough to grasp KU football history. We've had a gazillion coaches here at KU and had very little success. But all of you seem to have the belief that "hey if Gill does awesome and NU steals him....we'll just go out and get another coach. No big deal".

Our history tells us otherwise. Coaching turnover in football at KU does not build the foundation for long-term success. And the only way KU is going to have a great football program is with long-term success.

Mitchum: I would prefer a coach with no ties to our conference, let alone division. There are tons of qualified candidates that meet that description.

jhokfan 4 years, 8 months ago

Rivethead:

I hear you. I'm not old enough but I looked back at our history over the last 40 plus years starting with Pepper Rodgers. With the exception of Mangino one of two things has happened. Either a coach achieved a modest degree of success and bolted for another program or they failed and were never heard from again. I think your concern is warranted. My concern is about the upcoming season and not about the coaching future of someone who has yet to coach a single game at KU. We'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.

Jonathan Briles 4 years, 8 months ago

Rivethead - I understand your concern and that you have seen a lot happen at KU and I know that past implications show that KU will have a good coach and he will leave and we will fall back into mediocracy again. Well, the good news is that because of a few hires in the last decade things like that are still possible but much less likely to happen. In KU history we have never had success, a stadium, facilities, or the football money to attract top end football coaches. Now that we have a new facility, an AD who is willing to throw money at coaches, and resent success we do have enough to attract quite a few good coaches. I know that its not good to just go through coaches quickly because not all of them turn out and we can lose our success just as quickly as we earned it, but I still think you look at the situation too harshly. It's as I said in a previous post... Just embrace what is happening and enjoy yourself. Right now we have a great basketball team and a rising football coach with a rising program. It is always great to be a Jayhawk but right now should be feeling really sweet. RCJH!

Joseph Kuebel 4 years, 8 months ago

Seeing Coach Gill hit the recruiting trail early is great. I like the picture of him above at the Bball game. Class Act. HC (high-class) TG (Turner Gill)!

troutsee 4 years, 8 months ago

Spring game is 4-24-10 at 1 PM.

Osborn is getting up there in age. He won't be the AD at NU much longer.

Here's hoping that Gill is successful enough to be sought by other universities.

gardenjay 4 years, 8 months ago

Lots of incorrect spelling going on here posters, let's get it right! Because we're KU!! GO KU!!!

gardenjay 4 years, 8 months ago

Lots of incorrect spelling going on here posters, let's get it right! Because we're KU!! GO KU!!!

huskercarpenter 4 years, 8 months ago

from someone who has watched turner for 30 years, you need to listen to what he says, when he says something he very seldom wavers from it. i recall hearing him say the word dynasty, that doesn't happen in a couple of years. that takes 10-20 years.

here is an excellent artical, turner attended a FCA event in nebr.

http://www.huskerextra.com/articles/2010/03/08/football/doc4b94512b7d8e6950213190.txt

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