Hammock, O'Brien Remain on Staff

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill has retained two members of the previous Golden Gopher staff. Thomas Hammock will serve as Minnesota's running backs coach, while Director of Football Operations Dan O'Brien will continue in that role.

"Both Thomas Hammock and Dan O'Brien have been amazing through the transition over the past couple weeks," Kill said. "I can't say enough good things about those two men."

Hammock began his duties at Minnesota in 2007 as the running backs coach and assistant recruiting coordinator. Hammock served as co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach last season.

Kill said traits such as Hammock's personality, work ethic and recruiting ability all played a role in his retention.

"Whenever you take a new job as a head coach, you search for that special guy on the current staff," Kill said. "There were some good coaches here. But Thomas Hammock is a great fit for us. On the recruiting trail, Thomas is known around the country as a relentless recruiter. You go to the national convention and you hear people talk about how hard he works in recruiting. Thomas is an intense guy. He works very hard.

"He's just a good fit for us," Kill added. "He's a good fit for what I call the Coach Kill coaching family."

O'Brien has served as the Gophers' director of football operations for the past three seasons.

"We've gotten a lot done in the last week or so," Kill said. "If it wasn't for the job Dan O'Brien has done for me in the last seven or eight days, we wouldn't be where we are. He knows the University and the State of Minnesota. Dan has done an outstanding job in the transition. He has really made me feel comfortable. I feel like I've known him for years. One of my strengths is evaluating people and he's a perfect fit for me."

Hammock and O'Brien both said they are happy to remain Gophers.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Coach Kill and the rest of the staff," Hammock said. "I really enjoy working at the University of Minnesota and I'm looking forward to helping this program take the next step and move forward in the Big Ten."

"I'm very happy about the opportunity to stay at Minnesota and work with Coach Kill and the staff," O'Brien said. "As a lifelong Minnesotan and being involved in college athletics, there is no place I'd rather be than the University of Minnesota."

Coach Kill also had high praise for former offensive coordinator/interim head coach Jeff Horton. Kill expressed disappointment that he didn't have a place for Horton on the new Gopher staff.

"Coach Horton did an outstanding job with the program," Kill said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He was tremendously helpful with the transition. There is no doubt there would have been a place for him on my staff, but I was able to bring in my offensive coordinator (Matt Limegrover) who has been with me for 13 years.

"I will still use Coach Horton as a resource," Kill added. "We'll be spending a lot of time on the phone and I'm sure there will be a few steak dinners in our future. Jeff Horton made the University of Minnesota better. He will have a lot in front of him. It wouldn't surprise me if he ended up back in the NFL very soon."

Courtesy: University of Minnesota Communications

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