December 25, 1968 |
Clay Center, Kansas
|Alma mater||Kansas State|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Santa Fe Trail HS (co-DC)
Saginaw Valley State (DL)
Emporia State (DC)
Southern Illinois (DC)
Northern Illinois (DC)
Tracy Claeys (born December 25, 1968) is an American football coach who is currently the defensive coordinator and acting head coach at the University of Minnesota. He has been an assistant for Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill for 19 years at Saginaw Valley State, Emporia State, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois,and Minnesota.
College and Early Coaching
Claeys got his start in coaching when he attended the University of Kansas and served as a student trainer and later unpaid assistant coach for head coach Glen Mason. After three years at Kansas, he transferred to Kansas State University and took a job as an assistant at his old high school, earning a salary of $1. After Claeys graduated, he was hired at Santa Fe Trail High School as a math teacher and co-defensive coordinator of the football team.
In 1995, Claeys was hired as the linebackers coach at Saginaw Valley State, serving for the first time under head coach Jerry Kill. When Kill took the head coaching job at Emporia State, Claeys followed and was promoted to defensive coordinator. He continued to serve as defensive coordinator at Kill's future head coaching stops at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Minnesota.
Acting Head Coach
Due to Coach Kill's health problems throughout his career, Claeys has filled in as acting head coach when Kill has been unable to coach. This first occurred in 2005 when Kill had a seizure on the sideline of a Southern Illinois game and was later diagnosed with kidney cancer and epilepsy. Claeys filled in for Kill when Kill missed parts of three games in his first three years at Minnesota, and for the entire game when Kill had a seizure before a game at Michigan in 2013. On October 10, 2013 it was announced that Kill would take an open-ended leave of absence from coaching to focus on treating his epilepsy. Claeys has been appointed acting head coach until Kill returns. The Gophers went 4-3 under Claeys during the regular season, and lost their bowl game to Syracuse in which Coach Kill returned to the sidelines in the second half.