Former Southern Illinois Coach Sues School Over Contract

Disputing claims he owes nearly $58,000 for breaking his contract

Feb. 14, 2008

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Former Southern Illinois football coach Jerry Kill sued the school, disputing claims he owes nearly $58,000 for breaking his contract.

Kill coached the Salukis for seven seasons. He resigned in December to coach Northern Illinois less than a week after guiding the Salukis (12-2) to the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision.

His lawsuit was filed Feb. 5, days before SIU's deadline for Kill to pay. Kill called the payback provision illegal and unenforceable because it gave him no option to leave without penalty unless he died, became disabled, quit football or was fired.

Southern Illinois athletic director Mario Moccia said the university included a buyout in Kill's contract because the cost of finding a new coach on short notice can be expensive.

Southern Illinois has hired Dale Lennon, a former coach at North Dakota, as Kill's successor. He has a five-year contract that will pay him $200,000 a year.

Kill's old contract requires him to pay SIU one-third of a year's salary - $57,772 - for taking another head coaching position before his contract expired. Kill's deal was to run through 2011.

Kill went 56-32 at SIU. His teams won three straight Gateway Conference titles (2003-05) and made five consecutive postseason appearances.

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