Buckingham’s Gill dies after battle with cancer

Published 8:50 pm Friday, July 8, 2016

Craig Gill, the legendary and beloved Buckingham County High School head varsity football coach of the past 20 years, died late Friday morning, according to an email from Buckingham County Public Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead.

Gill had been battling cancer for the past three years and retired from coaching and teaching in May, as he said his doctors wanted him to take a year off to try to gain his strength back.

Buckingham was struggling on the gridiron when Gill arrived on the scene in the mid-1990s, but he used his two decades as leader of the Knights to turn the program around. He guided them to a 131-83 record during that time — a run that included six James River District championships and a state championship game appearance in 2002.

In each of the last seven seasons, the Knights have made the playoffs and have achieved at least eight wins. In 2015, Buckingham went 10-2, advancing as far as the second round of the Virginia High School League Region 2A West playoffs after winning the James River District championship title.

In an interview in May following his retirement, Gill reflected on his time as head coach of the Knights.

“It’s just been a great ride,” Gill said. “I just can’t believe it’s gone by that fast. I loved every minute of it. I always told kids I love coaching. You find a job that you love, you’ll never work a day of your life, and I never looked at coaching as a job. … I’ve got a lot of great memories, a lot of good young men that contributed, and it’s just been fun.”

Gill served as either a head or assistant football coach for 40 years, compiling a career record of 158-85. He served as head coach at a school in North Carolina for three years and then coached at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia for a year before coming to Buckingham.

Snead said in an email on Friday afternoon that there were no definitive plans for arrangements.