Official Site of the Boston College Eagles

Football




 Keith Willis
Keith Willis
Position:
Defensive Line

Experience:
5th year

Keith Willis is entering his fifth year at Boston College, working with the defensive line after coaching the same unit at the University of Cincinnati for two years.

Willis played on the defensive line at Northeastern from 1978-81 and led the team in sacks in each of his final three seasons. He was a four-year starter and two-time captain for the Huskies.

Following his NU career, Willis enjoyed a 12-year career in the National Football League -- with 10 of those seasons coming with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Willis helped lead Cincinnati to a 7-4 regular season record in 2000 and the Bearcats advanced to the Motor City Bowl -- losing to Marshall by a 25-14 count.

Willis signed as a free agent with the Steelers in 1982 and ended his career there ranked fourth in team history with 59 quarterback sacks -- fourth to only L.C. Greenwood (73.5), Joe Greene (66) and Jason Gildon (62.5). His 14 sacks in 1982 and 12 sacks in 1986 are the second and third highest single-season totals in team history.

He battled back from a neck injury that kept him sidelined for all of the 1988 season to start all 16 games in 1989, making 32 tackles with 6.5 sacks. His comeback efforts were recognized by being selected for the team's Ed Block Courage Award in 1990. Willis ended his career with the Steelers following the 1991 season and played as a reserve on the Buffalo Bills team that competed in the Super Bowl in 1993.

Willis retired from the NFL in 1993 and started his coaching career as defensive line coach at Slippery Rock College in 1995. During his four-year stay there, Willis was the school's liaison for the Minority Student-Athlete Mentoring program. In the summer of 1998, he completed an NFL internship with the Steelers. He completed his undergraduate degree from Northeastern in therapeutic recreation with a concentration in juvenile delinquency in 1988.

A native of Newark, N.J., Willis and his wife Maxine have two children, Jasmine and Keith Jr.

The Willis File

Came to Boston College from: Cincinnati
Year: 2001

Coaching Experience

2001-Boston College (defensive line)
1999-2000Cincinnati (defensive line)
1995-98Slippery Rock (defensive line)

Bowl Games as a Coach

  • Continental Tire Bowl (Boston College)
  • Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl (Boston College)
  • Motor City Bowl (Boston College)
  • Music City Bowl (Boston College)
  • Motor City Bowl (Cincinnati)

    Coaching Accomplishments

  • In 2004, Mathias Kiwanuka was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year, leading the conference in sacks (11.5- tied for fifth in the nation) and tackles for loss (24.5- third in the nation)
  • Boston College's rush defense ranked first in the Big East in 2004
  • Coached on Boston College teams that have won four bowl games
  • In 2000, Cincinnati posted a 7-4 regular season record and played in the Motor City Bowl

    Playing Career

  • Northeastern University (defensive line)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive line)
  • Buffalo Bills (defensive line)
  • Washington Redskins (defensive line)

    Playing Accomplishments

  • Played on the defensive line at Northeastern from 1978-81 and led the team in sacks in each of his final three seasons
  • Signed as a free agent with the Steelers in 1982 and ended his career there ranked third in team history with 59 quarterback sacks
  • Battled back from a neck injury that kept him sidelined for all of the 1988 season to start all 16 games in 1989 and was selected for the Steelers' Ed Block Courage Award in 1990
  • Ended his career with the Steelers following the 1991 season and played as a reserve on the Buffalo Bills team that competed in the Super Bowl in 1993

    Education

    1988BA (Therapeutic recreation)Northeastern
  • Shop Now! at the Official Online Store