Keith Gilmore
Keith Gilmore

Defensive Line

4 seasons - 2009-12

Alma Mater:
Wayne State 1985


Game 3 Notes: Illinois vs. Charleston Southern

The Illini Return Home to Host FCS Foe on Saturday at 11 am CT


Game 1 Notes: Western Michigan at Illinois

Illini will open 123rd football season on Saturday at 11 am CT


Illini Set to Open Spring Practices

Pre-Spring Football Notes


Beckman Introduces Coaching Staff

New Coaching Staff Meets with Media


Beckman Hires Banks to Round Out First Staff

Former Cincinnati Co-Coordinator Chosen to Lead Illini Defense


2012 Orange and Blue Spring Game

Photos from the 2012 Orange and Blue Spring Game at Memorial Stadium - April 14, 2012 (photos by Mark Jones)


2012 Signing Day Photos

Photos from Illinois football signing day on Feb. 1, 2012. (Mark Jones and Derek Neal)


  • Tutored 2011 Hendricks Award winner, consensus first-team All-American and NCAA sack leader Whitney Mercilus
  • Helped coach 2011 Illinois defense to top-10 national ranks in passing defense (5), tackles for loss (4), total defense (7) and sacks (7)
  • Coached 2010 NFL first-round draft pick Corey Liuget
  • 2009 Orange Bowl participant (Cincinnati)
  • 2008, ranked 8th in the nation in sacks, Cincinnati
  • 2008 All-American, Terrill Byrd
  • Tutored Cincinnati's single-season sack leader, Anthony Hoke

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 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.

Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
Birthdate: March 23, 1958
Family: Wife, Bridget; Sons, Keith, Kierre, Grant; Daughters, Keyontay, Grace
Education: B.S., Recreation Management - Wayne State, 1981; M.A., Sport Administration - Michigan State, 1990
Playing Experience: University of Michigan, 1976-77; Wayne State, 1978-80

Gilmore Year-by-Year
Year School (position)
2009-12Illinois (defensive line)
2007-08Cincinnati (assistant head coach/defensive line)
2006Central Michigan (defensive line)
2002-05Howard (assistant head coach/defensive coordinator)
1998-2001Norfolk State (defensive line/running backs/special teams)
1995-97Eastern Michigan (running backs/special teams coordinator)
1994Wayne State (running backs/special teams coordinator)
1991-93Grand Valley State (linebackers/running backs/recruiting coordinator)
1989-90Northern Michigan (running backs)
1988Michigan State (graduate assistant)
1985-87Wayne State (linebackers/running backs)

Bowl Experience
2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
2010 Texas Bowl
2009 Orange Bowl
2007 Bowl
2006 International Bowl
2006 Motor City Bowl
1989 Gator Bowl
1978 Rose Bowl (as a player)

updated 2/11/2013