The Illini Return Home to Host FCS Foe on Saturday at 11 am CT
Illini will open 123rd football season on Saturday at 11 am CT
Pre-Spring Football Notes
New Coaching Staff Meets with Media
Former Cincinnati Co-Coordinator Chosen to Lead Illini Defense
Keith Gilmore spent four seasons with the Fighting Illini, serving as defensive line coach.
In 2011, Gilmore molded defensive end Whitney Mercilus into a dominant force. Mercilus was named the Ted Hendricks Award winner, given to the nation's top defensive end, and was a consensus All-American. He led the nation in sacks (16.0), sacks per game (1.23) and forced fumbles (9) while breaking the Big Ten record for forced fumbles. The 16 sacks tied Simeon Rice's UI single-season record and Mercilus' 22.5 tackles for loss in 2011 rank second nationally and third all-time at Illinois.
Gilmore guided a budding star in 2010 in defensive tackle Corey Liuget, who was a first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in the 2011 NFL Draft after being named a fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele. Liuget and Akeem Spence combined for 108 tackles, the most by a pair of Illini defensive tackles since 1993, and Spence was named a Freshman All-American by Phil Steele and Rivals.com. Illinois' rushing defense also held five opponents under 100 yards in 2010.
In his first season with the Illinois defensive line, Gilmore tutored a starting four that posted 33 tackles for loss and 14.5 quaterback sacks, including honorable mention All-Big Ten selection Clay Nurse.
Gilmore spent six years with Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly, two with the Bearcats, one at Central Michigan in 2006 and three at Grand Valley State 1991-93. As assistant head coach and defensive line coach, Gilmore helped lead Cincinnati to a Big East championship and a trip to the 2009 Orange Bowl. He coached a line that ranked ninth in the nation in sacks, averaging nearly three per game. The rushing defense allowed only 115 yards per game, which ranked 19th in the NCAA and the scoring defense was 25th.
In his two years at UC, Gilmore coached a defensive line that boasted All-American Terrill Byrd, the school's single-season sacks leader in Anthony Hoke, and NFL draft choices Angelo Craig and Connor Barwin. His group proved to be one of the best in the BIG EAST, as the Bearcats defense ranked second in the league in scoring defense (18.8) and rushing defense (114.2).
Prior to Cincinnati, the 24-year coaching veteran mentored a pair of defensive linemen to all-league honors in his only season at Central Michigan. Gilmore went to CMU in 2006, after four seasons as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Howard University. He also was the defensive line coach for the Bison, who led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in total defense in 2004 and ranked seventh in the nation (297.5 ypg) and again in 2005, while ranking second in the NCAA (255.7 ypg).
Gilmore has held internships with three NFL teams throughout his coaching career. He spent the 1996 summer with the Green Bay Packers' coaching staff, the 2002 summer with the Detroit Lions' scouting department and the 2005 summer with the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers scouting department.
Prior to his time at Howard, Gilmore spent the 1998-2001 seasons at Norfolk State. He was the special teams coordinator and also coached the defensive line and running backs.
A two-time all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honoree at Wayne State (1979-80), Gilmore began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1985. From there, he served stints at Michigan State (1988), Northern Michigan (1989-90), Grand Valley State (1991-93), Wayne State (1994), and Eastern Michigan (1995-97).
Gilmore earned his bachelor's degree in recreation management from Wayne State in 1981 and a master's degree in sport administration from Michigan State in 1990. He and his wife, Bridget, have five children, Keith, Kierre, Grant, Keyontay and Grace.
THE GILMORE FILE