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Turner Gill
Turner Gill Introduction.jpg

Title Head Coach
College University of Kansas
Sport Football
Team record 0–0
Born August 13, 1962 (1962-08-13) (age 47)
Place of birth Fort Worth, TX
Annual salary $2,000,000[1]
Career highlights
Overall 20–30
Bowls 0–1
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
2008 MAC Championship
2007 MAC Coach of the Year
Playing career
Nebraska (NCAA)
Montreal Concordes (CFL)
Position Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Nebraska (GA)
North Texas (GA)
Southern Methodist (WR)
Nebraska (QB)
Nebraska (Ast. HC)
Nebraska (WR)
Green Bay Packers (AC)

Turner Gill (born August 13, 1962, in Fort Worth, Texas) is the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks college football team and was one of 11 African-American head coaches in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision at the time of his hiring.[2]


Playing career



Gill graduated from Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Texas. During his senior season, Gill was courted heavily by Nebraska, as well as arch-rival Oklahoma, and Texas. Nebraska won the spirited battle for Gill, in part because they would allow Turner to play baseball as well as football, but also because head coach Tom Osborne had managed to quell any rumours about Nebraska supposedly being reluctant to play an African-American at quarterback.

Gill arrived on campus in 1980 and saw limited action in mop-up duty as a freshman, which at the time was still relatively unusual, as freshmen had only been recently allowed under NCAA rules to participate at the varsity level.

Nebraska started the 1981 season poorly, losing two of its first three games and performing anemically on offense at times in all three. Gill had found himself third on the depth chart prior to the Huskers season opener, behind Mark Mauer and Nate Mason.

Down 3-0 to Auburn at halftime during the fourth game, with the season on the verge of slipping away, Osborne inserted Gill into the game. The Huskers pulled out a 17-3 victory, and Gill was given the starting job the following week. Behind Gill, the Huskers demolished Colorado 59-0, thus setting off an unbeaten run through the Big 8 conference, which Nebraska would win outright for the first time since 1971. However, during the season's penultimate game against Iowa State, Gill suffered what initially appeared to be an innocuous leg injury. Instead, doctors discovered nerve damage which sidelined him for the remainder of the 1981 season. Although the Huskers would beat Oklahoma without him, they were not able to overcome a stingy Clemson defense in the Orange Bowl, where a win may have given the Huskers a possible national championship.

Gill came back strong during 1982 and led the Huskers to a second consecutive outright Big 8 title and a 12-1 record overall, losing only a controversial game at eventual national champion Penn State in September. However, he suffered the first of many concussions in a game against Missouri which would ultimately shorten his playing career.

During his senior season, Turner would call the signals for one of the most prolific offenses in college football history, averaging 52 points and 401 rushing yards per game. Gill finished fourth in the voting for the 1983 Heisman Trophy which was won by teammate Mike Rozier. The Huskers came within a whisker of a national championship, falling to the University of Miami, just one point short following a failed two-point conversion attempt in the 1984 Orange Bowl.

Overall, Gill finished with a 28-2 record in his three years as a starter, winning three consecutive outright Big Eight championships with a perfect 20-0 mark in conference play. Despite this, he was unable to lead the Huskers to a national title, falling agonizingly short in each of his three seasons.

Pro career

Gill bypassed the NFL and instead signed a lucrative contract with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Concordes. In two seasons with the Concordes, Gill had 727 pass attempts with 411 completions for 4,928 yards and 23 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. He also had 826 rushing yards on 173 carries and seven touchdowns. However, during the last game of the 1985 season, he suffered another bad concussion and was advised by doctors to retire from pro football. He was only 23 years old.


Turner decided to return to baseball. A standout shortstop, Gill had been drafted by the Chicago White Sox at age 17 and again by the New York Yankees at age 21. In college, he batted .284 in 48 games for Nebraska during the 1983 season. Gill spent two years in the Cleveland Indians' organization and a third in the Detroit Tigers farm system before deciding to return to football as a coach.

Coaching career

University of Nebraska

In 1989, Gill began his coaching career at the University of Nebraska, his alma mater, serving one year as a graduate assistant coach. After spending a season each at the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University, Gill returned once again to Nebraska, where he coached quarterbacks from 1992-2003 and wide receivers in 2004. Gill served as position coach for two first team All-Americans, Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch, with Crouch also earning the Heisman Trophy under Gill's tutelage. The Cornhuskers earned three national championships in Gill's time as an assistant there.

Green Bay Packers

In 2005, Gill was hired by the Green Bay Packers as Director of Player Development to help players become acclimated to playing professional football in Green Bay and to direct players to resources concerning community involvement, continuing education, financial management, and retirement planning. He also served as an assistant wide receivers coach and an offensive assistant coach through December 2005.

University at Buffalo

Gill agreed to a five-year contract to become the 23rd head football coach at the University at Buffalo on December 16, 2005. The Buffalo Bulls had gone 8-49 under previous coach Jim Hofher, and was considered "one of the three or four worst FBS programs in the nation when [Gill] took over."[3] Under Gill, the Bulls improved each of the first three seasons, winning the Mid-American Conference championship in 2008.


Turner Gill won two games in his first season with Buffalo compiling a 2–10 record. Despite its record Buffalo achieved some success. The team set a school record for most points in a season since moving to Division I, with 220. UB also scored the most points of any team in the MAC East Division and defeated an opponent (Kent State University) with a winning record for the first time since joining the MAC in 1999. Kent State had a 5-3 record at the time but ended the season 6-6.


Gill's Buffalo team finished 5–7 overall with a 5–3 record in the Mid-American Conference, the first winning conference record the squad had posted since joining the MAC in 1999. This was also the Bulls' first winning record at home since moving to Division I. The team finished third out of six schools in the Mid-American Conference East Division but shared co-division champion honors. Gill was named MAC Coach of the Year for 2007.[4]

Because of the great turnaround that Gill orchestrated in only his second season at Buffalo, he was one of two leading candidates to replace Bill Callahan as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.[5] However, Bo Pelini was hired as the new Nebraska head coach.


In 2008, Gill's Buffalo team continued its steady improvement, finishing the regular season 7-5 and winning the East division of the MAC. On December 5, Buffalo played #12 Ball State in the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit. Ball State was heavily favored, as it entered the game with a perfect 12-0 mark, while Buffalo came in off a home loss to Kent State that had ended a five-game winning streak. However, Buffalo scored two touchdowns on fumble returns and won the game 42-24, giving the school its first MAC championship. Following the victory, Buffalo accepted a bid to play in the International Bowl in nearby Toronto, marking the school's first bowl since joining the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision in 1999.[6] The season also saw Buffalo break its all-time scoring record, having numerous players break school career and single-season records and saw UB earn unprecedented national coverage, with five appearances on the ESPN family of networks as the Bulls were 4-0 in those contests. Also, four of Buffalo's five losses this season (Pittsburgh, Missouri, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan) came against teams which advanced to bowl games, with two of those teams ranked in the AP Top 25. With Gill's continued success at Buffalo, he once again became the focus of speculation about a possible move to a bigger program. [7] Gill interviewed at Syracuse University, where he was passed over for Doug Marrone, the offensive coordinator for the NFL's New Orleans Saints.[8]

Gill also interviewed for the head coaching position at Auburn University, losing out to Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik, who had a 5-19 record. On December 15, former NBA superstar and Auburn player Charles Barkley, who had previously endorsed Gill for the position, criticized Auburn's passing over of Gill in favor of Chizik, saying "race was the No. 1 factor. You can say it's not about race, but you can't compare the two résumés and say [Chizik] deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst résumé."[9]

The following day, Buffalo announced that Gill had agreed to a contract extension and a raise,[10] with his contract running through 2013 and making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the MAC.

University of Kansas

On December 13, 2009, Gill was announced as the new head coach of the University of Kansas football team[11], replacing Mark Mangino, who resigned amid rumors and an investigation of questionable coaching practices. His daughter, Jordan Gill, is a student at the University of Kansas, as well as an employee with the athletic department.[12] It will mark his return to the Big 12 Conference after leaving his assistant coaching post at Nebraska after the 2004 season.

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Buffalo Bulls (Mid-American Conference) (2006–2009)
2006 Buffalo 2–10 1–7 6th (East)
2007 Buffalo 5–7 5–3 3rd (East)
2008 Buffalo 8–6 5–3 1st L International
2009 Buffalo 5–7 3–5 5th (East)
Buffalo: 20–30 14–18
Kansas Jayhawks (Big 12 Conference) (2010–present)
2010 Kansas 0–0 0–0
Total: 20–30
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jim Hofher
University at Buffalo Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Danny Barrett (interim)
Preceded by
Mark Mangino
University of Kansas Head Football Coach
Succeeded by


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