The formula never changed: demand discipline, emphasize recruiting and increase resources. It was simple, but it also worked.
At Southern Illinois, Kill & Company saved a program on the verge of being dropped. They beat Indiana on the road. Kill drove into the rural communities near Southern Illinois and persuaded fans to return, one handshake at a time. When Mike Reis, the Salukis’ veteran play-by-play announcer, spent weeks in the hospital for colon surgery, Kill visited daily. When the university offered him a raise, he spread the money among his assistants.
At Northern Illinois, Kill and his crew replaced Joe Novak and began another turnaround. In his interview, Kill told Novak and Jim Phillips, now the athletic director at Northwestern, about the seizures and said he had a handle on them. Phillips said Kill’s health did not factor “an iota” into his decision.
Even then, a Big Ten job seemed far away. What school would take that kind of chance?
Read it all (Hat tip: Elizabeth Harmon).