Jan. 31, 2014
Release and photos courtesy of siusalukis.com.
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Six all-time greats were inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame during a ceremony Friday evening at SIU Arena, which was emceed by Saluki Hall of Famer and Voice of the Salukis Mike Reis.
Hall of Fame plaques were unveiled for Jerry Kill (Football Head Coach), Mark Gagliano (Football), Mickey Maule (Tennis), Brittany Riley (Track & Field), Joe Schley (Baseball) and Amarachi Ukabam (Track & Field).
Kill (2001-07) resurrected Saluki Football during his seven years at the helm. The failing program had posted 11-straight losing seasons and had not made a playoff appearance since winning the National Championship in 1983. That changed in 2003 when Southern went 10-2 and won its first of three-straight Gateway Conference titles, while making its first of five-straight I-AA Playoff appearances.
"What turned it around was when we beat Western Illinois (in 2002) and I guess you can call it the drive when Joel Sambursky took us down," Kill said. "It seemed like the tide switched at that time."
Kill was 55-32 overall, including 50-18 in his final five years at SIU. Among his many honors were winning Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (2004), Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year (2007) and Gateway Conference Coach of the Year (2003, 2004). The program spent 84 weeks in the Top 25 during his tenure, including 12 weeks at No. 1. Kill recently completed his third season as head coach at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were 8-5 last year, their best record since 2003.
"There are so many memories of SIU," he said. "The best memories were the people, the players and the camaraderie we had with our staff. The kids and the coaching staff built this house, not me. The kids and the administration, they bought into it and they built it up."
The 2014 Hall of Fame class will be introduced at halftime of Saturday's men's basketball game versus Loyola.
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