Jerry Kill

Jerry Kill

Southern Illinois University Athletic Director Jerry Kill, an advocate for epilepsy, is the keynote speaker at Council for a Healthy Dent County’s annual Fundraising Gala Aug. 26 at Salem Community Center @ the Armory.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the program from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Kill coached football at SIU from 2001 to 2007, leading the Salukis to five-straight appearances in the Football Championship Subdivision and winning three-straight Gateway Football Conference Championships. He received the prestigious Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award in 2004 and the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in 2007.

He rose through the ranks of the coaching profession with stops at Division II Pittsburg State, Saginaw Valley State and Emporia State. Between stints as offensive and defensive coordinator at Pittsburg State, he served as a high school coach, leading Webb City to a 25-1 record in two seasons and a Missouri state championship in 1989.

After leaving SIU following the 2007 season, Kill went on to successful coaching stints with Northern Illinois and Minnesota, where he was the 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year, before returning to SIU as athletic director in 2018. Known for rebuilding college programs and getting facilities constructed, his lifetime record was 156-102.

Kill has dealt with epilepsy for much of his adult life, serving as an advocate for others with the condition and earning widespread respect and national attention. He chronicled his experiences as a coach in a 2016 book, “Chasing Dreams: Living My Life One Yard at a Time.”

His personal experiences with cancer and epilepsy led him and his wife, Rebecca, to start the Coach Kill Cancer Fund and the Chasing Dreams Coach Kill Epilepsy Fund. The funds directly aid patients and families who need financial help. The epilepsy fund aids schools in creating Seizure Smart Classrooms and supports Camp Oz for children suffering from epilepsy.

“We are so excited to have Coach Kill as our keynote speaker this year. He has a local connection to Healthy Dent County vice chairman Andrew Wynn, as Coach Kill served as a coach and mentor to Andrew while he played football at SIU,” said Healthy Dent County Executive Director Sherry Lea.

Community health awards will be presented to local citizens, organizations and businesses that have been instrumental in providing health related services and programs to the community.

This event is open to anyone in the community that wishes to learn more about Healthy Dent County and the Salem Community Center @ the Armory and find out ways to help support their work in the community. Reservations are requested by Friday, Aug. 19.

To RSVP for the event please call 729-8163 or e-mail taylor@salemcommunitycenter.org.