Gill thanks God, staff, players as he reflects on seven years of Flames Football
An emotional Turner Gill addressed the media one last time as Liberty University's head football coach on Tuesday afternoon, following his retirement announcement on Monday.
After seven seasons at Liberty, Gill is retiring from coaching football in order to spend more time with his family. His wife was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2016.
He thanked the administration and staff for their support.
"President (Jerry) Falwell and (Director of Athletics) Ian McCaw have been very supportive of my decision," Gill said. "They had offered me a new multi-year contract and they have been very good to my family and me over the years. I want to thank President Falwell, Becki Falwell, and Ian McCaw for allowing me to do what I love and do what I see as my purpose: helping young men grow into men of character.
“I will miss my staff and the players immensely,” he continued. “I am extremely sad to leave them. However, I cannot work over 90 hours a week and be there for my wife at the same time. I know that my staff understands that, and I hope that my players receive that information as another lesson in being a man and taking care of his family.”
Gill coached his last game as Liberty's head football coach on Saturday, ending his tenure with the Flames with a 47-35 record and a 72-84 overall head coaching record.
Since taking over Liberty's football program on Dec. 14, 2011, Gill has elevated Liberty’s winning tradition, positioning the Flames for success at the highest level of collegiate football.
Liberty posted a .500 or better record in each season under Gill, extending the Flames’ streak to 13 seasons in a row without a losing mark.
Gill played an instrumental part in Liberty’s successful three-year transition from the Football Championship Series (FCS) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). He jumpstarted the reclassification process when he guided the Flames to a 48-45 win over Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017, Liberty's first win over a Power 5 opponent.
He said he is leaving the program in excellent standing after its first full season as an FBS program.
“This year was such a tremendous year in so many different ways because of the way we were able to compete in one year, to turn this thing around,” Gill said. “I see nothing but it going up in the right way. These next two years, I really feel very strongly that it’s already in place … as far as what the culture is. They know how to compete. It’s exciting for our fans, and it should be exciting for everybody. (The program is) in great shape, and I look forward to watching a lot of great things happen at Liberty University in the future.”
Gill’s comments were followed by remarks from McCaw and returning team captains Antonio Gandy-Golden and Dontae Duff.
McCaw said the university has received tremendous interest in the position over the past two days and has hired a consulting firm to expedite the hiring process, which he hopes to have completed by the end of next week.
“The perception of Liberty football is higher than it’s ever been,” McCaw said. “Obviously, this is the first time we’ve done a search as an FBS program. People recognize the commitment from President Falwell, the resources, the facilities. Really the momentum and upward trajectory of this program are all selling points.”