New Illinois defensive line coach Keith Gilmore
Jan. 20, 2009
University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook announced Tuesday the hiring of former Cincinnati defensive line coach Keith Gilmore as the newest member of the Fighting Illini coaching staff.
"I am thrilled to have Keith Gilmore join our staff," said Zook. "He is experienced at almost every level of football and his knowledge of the game will be a great addition to the defensive room. He has had great results along each of his coaching stops and I know he will bring that work ethic to this Illinois defense. Cincinnati has been a great defensive team these past two years and certainly Keith has had a lot to do with the team's success."
"I am very excited about this opportunity," said Gilmore. "I have always dreamed of coaching in the Big Ten Conference and working for someone like Coach Zook who has such vast experiences and knowledge. This is a great move for me to become a better football coach. It also is a great university, one that has a lot of football tradition and history. The Champaign-Urbana area really seems like a great place to raise a family. My wife was able to come up and see the area as well and we feel we will be very happy there."
Gilmore spent six years as a part of Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly's staff and served as assistant head coach and defensive line coach for two seasons with the Bearcats. In 2008, Gilmore's line 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 a game. The rushing defense allowed only 115 yards a 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 an NFL draft choice in Angelo Craig. 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 (297.5 ypg) and 2005 (255.7 ypg).
Gilmore has held internships with three NFL teams throughout his coaching career. He spent the 1996 season with the Green Bay Packers' coaching staff, the 2002 season with the Detroit Lions' scouting department and the 2005 season 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).