In retiring from coaching, Turner Gill did ‘one of the toughest things’ he’s ever had to do

In retiring from coaching, Turner Gill did ‘one of the toughest things’ he’s ever had to do
Turner Gill, 56, spent 13 seasons as a head football coach, the last seven at Liberty, which he led to a 6-6 record this year, its first at the FBS level. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Turner Gill doesn’t know exactly what he’ll do, but he’s sure of one of thing — he’ll be spending more time with his wife.

The former Husker quarterback announced Monday he’s retiring from coaching after seven years in charge of the Liberty football program. He said Tuesday during a press conference he made the decision so he could take care of his wife, Gayle, who was diagnosed with a heart condition in the summer of 2016.

Gill said his wife’s health is fine, but “due to several factors over the last few months” he believes now is the right time to step away. He cited time demands, saying he sometimes spends more than 90 hours a week preparing for a game.

He made the decision Sunday evening after a meeting with Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw, who during that conversation told Gill he would propose to the school president a new multi-year contract for Gill. That’s when Gill told him he’d been considering retirement. Later that day, after a talk with his wife, Gill informed McCaw that his decision was final.

“I’m not interested in coaching at this point in time,” Gill said. “I guess you never say never. God can do so many different things of that nature, but I have no desire at this point in time to be coaching.”

Gill will stay in Lynchburg, Virginia — where Liberty University is located — for the next month or two and make time to visit family with his wife. Then he hopes to find a new career “that’s less stressful” than coaching.

“I guess we’ll see what we’re going to do,” Gill said. “We’re just going to enjoy time with each other, visit her family, visit my family, visit our daughters, and then see where God leads us. It could be here, it could be somewhere else, so we don’t have any exact plans.”

Gill got the most emotional during Tuesday’s press conference when describing the moment he shared the news with his coaching staff. He called it “one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.”

“It just was a tough thing for me to say to them that I was retiring,” Gill said, “because it affects many peoples’ lives, their jobs, their families. I know they understand the reason, but it’s still hard.”

Addressing the team was also hard, Gill said, because he’s developed such a strong bond with them. He said “they’re all my sons” and he hoped his decision didn’t let them down.

“I was in their life, and now I’m not going to be in their life in the way they expected,” Gill said. “I know through God’s prayers and the Holy Spirit they’re going to be alright, but obviously to see some disappointment when I made that statement I’m retiring, to see some of the body language, and it hurts. But I have to do what I think is best for me and my wife.”

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