Former football coach Jerry Kill hired as SIU ambassador, fundraiser


Brian Munoz

From left: Tommy Bell, SIU Director of Athletics, Jerry Kill, special assistant to the chancellor, and Carlo Montemagno, SIU Chancellor chat Tuesday, January. 30, 2018, after the public announcement of Kill’s appointment to serve as an ambassador and fundraiser for the university in Anthony Hall. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Brian Munoz, Photography and Multimedia Editor

Former Saluki football coach Jerry Kill has been assigned to serve as an ambassador and fundraiser for the university with a salary of $140,000 per year.

Kill’s position as an ambassador will focus on local and regional outreach but he is also expected to travel the state and nation, according to his contract.

“I’m bringing coach Kill to help me with [efforts] to reach out to the community and provide the connection we’ve had in the past and strengthen it,” Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said. “We’re bringing home one of the long lost patrons of our region.”


Kill has been an ambassador for SIU Athletics in the past and was asked to act as Montemagno’s personal assistant and to “reinvigorate the relationship of SIU with [the] community,” Montemagno said.

His salary will primarily be funded by the SIU Foundation, Montemagno said.

“The money that [is] being used for this [is] not coming from the state and most of it is going to be coming from our foundation,” Montemagno said. “It’s going to be fundraised [and] it’s not going to have any impact in regards to other elements of the budget.”

Montemagno said he believes the opportunity of reconnecting with the university’s constituents leaves him “more than confident” with the investment of Kill’s position and the addition is “[his] judgment call.”

Kill said that to him the position isn’t about the salary.

“I’ve walked away from $8 million dollars at Minnesota — it isn’t about money,” Kill said. “If I don’t produce or if I don’t give back on the revenue that [the chancellor] has given me for a job then I’ll be fishing on a lake somewhere.”

Most recently, Kill was the offensive coordinator at Rutgers University but retired this past December due to health issues.

“SIU is a special place and I’ve always valued the warmth and support of the southern Illinois community,” Kill said. “I’m excited to contribute to the university’s future in any way possible.”


Jerry Kill, special assistant to the chancellor, right, speaks to media Tuesday, January. 30, 2018, after the public announcement of Kill’s appointment to serve as an ambassador and fundraiser for the university in Anthony Hall. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

Positivity and openness to change will be important in moving forward, Kill said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s coaching football or running a business — when it’s broken you have to find a way to fix it and the way to fix it is to be positive,” Kill said. “We have to be more positive [and concentrate] on what we have and not on what we don’t.” The chancellor said the university’s athletic director, Tommy Bell, will continue to serve as the athletic director at the university.

“[Kill] is going to be [working] closely with me as we coordinate the intersections between athletics and the rest of the community,” Montemagno said. “[Bell] will continue to be on our team and will be serving as my lead in athletics and acting as the primary person in charge of moving our athletics program forward as we engage and regaining the championship throne.”

Bell said he looks forward to Kill’s return.

“Coach Kill has a national profile and tremendous passion for this institution,” Bell said. “He will be a valuable asset as we move forward on our plan to restore the glory of SIU Athletics.”

Kill served as the head football coach at SIU from 2001-07, leading the Salukis to five appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision and winning three straight Gateway Football Conference Championships.

He is also a recipient of the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award in 2004 and the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2007.

Photography and Multimedia editor Brian Muñoz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @BrianMMunoz. 

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