Jerry Kill steps down as director of athletics

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

Jerry Kill, director of athletics at Southern Illinois University, has stepped down from his position effective immediately.

He will join the Virginia Tech football staff as a special assistant to head coach Justin Fuente, according to an SIU Athletics press release.

Kill said the opportunity to serve as athletic director at SIU was one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.

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“It was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois,” Kill said. “There is an outstanding leadership team in place within athletics, and I’m confident they will continue to build upon the foundation we’ve laid, allowing me to return to my passion, which is coaching football. I’ve tried to get away from football, but I just can’t.”

Kill returned to SIU in February 2018 as a special assistant to former Chancellor Carlo Montemagno and became the athletic director two months later.

Kill served as the athletic director for 16 months and hired seven new coaches in his time at SIU including men’s basketball coach Bryan Mullins, volleyball coach Ed Allen and soccer coach Grant Williams.

“We’re grateful to Jerry for taking on the leadership of Saluki athletics at a critical time, and we respect his decision to return to his passion,” John Dunn, interim chancellor, said. “He has worked diligently on behalf of the university and the athletics program.”

Dunn said Kill was an architect of the 20-year, $10 million agreement with Banterra Bank to rename the SIU Arena the Banterra Center.

See more: (In a historic announcement SIU Arena is renamed “Banterra Center”)

“We are fortunate to have had his energy and enthusiasm focused on SIU and know he will continue to do great things moving forward,” Dunn said.

Liz Jarnigan will be stepping in as the new athletic director in place of Kill; she joined the athletics staff in 2018 as an associate director.

Before SIU, Jarnigan served at the Air Force Academy as the senior women’s administrator for two years.

She also spent time at San Jose State for eight years and served as the director for student athlete success before being promoted to the senior woman administrator.

When Kill hired Jarnigan, he said her was the most important hire he’d made in a long time.

Kill said he believed she is more qualified to serve as an athletic director than himself because of her abilities to solve problems.

“She has the ability to solve complicated issues,” he said. “She’s much more qualified to be an athletic director than I am.”

Jarnigan said she will miss Kill and she plans to build off of his accomplishments.

“Like most everyone in the southern Illinois region, I’m very sorry to see Coach Kill leave SIU so soon,” Jarnigan said. “However, I’m honored to have this opportunity to build on his legacy of graduating student-athletes and winning championships.”

Adam Warfel, Sports Editor, can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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