DeKALB – When Northern Illinois defensive coordinator Terry Claeys talked with Huskies head coach Jerry Kill on the phone Wednesday afternoon, he had an inkling Kill was on the mend based on the topic of their conversation: football.
“He’s already got gameplan ideas,” Claeys said. “He was talking to me about the defense. I’m sure when he got off the phone, he gave (NIU offensive coordinator) Matt (Limegrover) a call to talk about the offense.”
The 49-year-old Kill has been hospitalized since suffering from dehydration early Sunday morning but was upgraded to good condition on Wednesday morning, according to a Northwest Memorial Hospital spokesperson. Kill still was in good condition as of Thursday morning.
The American Hospital Association defines good condition as: "Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent." Kill had been listed as being in fair condition since he was admitted to Northwestern Memorial on Monday morning.
NIU President John Peters said Thursday that he has not personally spoken with Kill but has been getting updates on the coach's condition from Director of Athletics Jeff Compher.
"He's doing well," Peters said of Kill.
Peters was not sure as of early Thursday afternoon when Kill would be released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital or if Kill would be at Saturday's game against Illinois. While Peters said the university wants Kill on the sidelines, his also said the coach's health must come first.
Claeys said Kill “didn’t talk a whole lot” during their discussions on the phone earlier in the week and that none of their conversations was about football. But that changed Wednesday afternoon when Claeys said “just his voice” was proof of Kill’s improved health.
“He’s feeling really good,” Claeys said. “He’s getting back in his routine.”
Kill originally was admitted to Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb before electing to transfer to Northwestern Memorial on Monday to confer with his personal physician and undergo further evaluation.
Kill had surgery on Sept. 3, though reasons for the operation have been kept private.
Claeys and Limegrover each said they expected Kill to attend Saturday’s game against Illinois in Champaign. Kill’s progress only has strengthened the thought that Kill soon will be released from Northwestern Memorial and that he will travel to Memorial Stadium.
“I said earlier in the week that I’d be shocked if he didn’t make it to Illinois,” Claeys said, “and I’m sticking with that.”