Defensive Line Coach
After his own high school football experience at St. Viator, where Ken earned All Conference and All Area honors, he went on to play as a scholarship football player at the University of Illinois during the Mike White era, culminating in a trip to the Liberty Bowl in 1982. Ken was a 3-year starter at Right Defensive End, leading pass rusher and led his team in sacks his senior year.
After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Business, Ken played in the United States Football League during its entire 1983-1985 tenure. During that time, Ken led the San Antonio Gunslingers in sacks for 2 of his 3 years. He was also fortunate to have had the opportunity to be coached by John Teerlinck (Defensive Line coach for the Indianapolis Colts) while playing at Illinois and for 2 of his 3 years in the USFL. As a pioneer of modern-day pass-rushers, John taught his D-line players proper technique and passion for the position.
Ken Gillen is currently the Varsity Defensive Line coach at Benet Academy High School in Lisle, IL. He’s been coaching there since 2003 when the team made it to the state quarterfinals. Ken’s understanding of what it takes to be successful at the lineman position has helped produce at least one All-Conference Defensive Lineman every year for Benet in the tough East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC). He has also helped many players fulfill their goals to play college football at Division I, II and III schools, including several at Ivy League programs.
Ken continues to hone his skills and knowledge of the latest techniques and strategies by regularly attending coaching clinics taught by D- Line coaches from renowned programs at Division I schools. He has developed a well-rounded and deep understanding of what it takes to achieve at the highest level and the path to get there.
Ken is married to his college sweetheart, Carol, and they’re the proud parents of three grown children.