Kill built a 55-32 record in seven seasons at Southern Illinois University and takes over a Northern Illinois Huskies team that went 2-10 in 2007 after bowl appearances in 2004 and 2006.
His record includes a 1-10 first season and a 12-2 mark in 2007, a season that ended last weekend with a loss in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.
He replaces Joe Novak, who retired as Northern Illinois' coach after 12 seasons and a total record of 63-76.
"Jerry Kill has been successful at every level of college coaching," said Northern Illinois Athletic Director Jim Phillips. "Simply put, he is a winner. His record speaks for itself. More importantly, he is a quality person with a great family who will continue the tradition that Coach Novak has built here at Northern Illinois."