MONMOUTH, Ill. – A distance runner with multiple conference championships, one dual sport student-athlete and a two-time national champion comprise the field of former Fighting Scots to be inducted into the Monmouth College M Club Hall of Fame Saturday as part of the college’s Homecoming weekend festivities.
Track and cross country man Doug Carlson ’66, two-sport student-athlete Rob Purlee ’04 and two-time national pole vault champion Jonny Henkins ’08 are slated to become the 35th class to be inducted into the college’s athletic Hall of Fame. The 8:30 a.m. ceremony on Oct. 6 will be held on the main concourse of the Huff Athletic Center. The inductees will then be recognized during pregame festivities and coin toss ceremony before the Scots’ football team hosts Grinnell College in a special 2 p.m. kickoff at April Zorn Memorial Stadium.
Doug Carlson ’66 (Chicago, Ill.)
A small and distinguished group of Monmouth College men’s cross country runners earned All-Midwest Conference honors three or more times. Doug Carlson is not only among that group but is also part of an even smaller collection of Fighting Scots runners who placed in the top three at least twice, which he accomplished as a junior and senior. At the time of his induction, that prestigious list had only five men. To that feat, Carlson added 23 consecutive dual-meet victories and set numerous Monmouth and course records.
In track, Carlson excelled at the two-mile distance, winning the race three times at MWC meets. He had five of the top eight times in school history, with a best of 9:40.7, and he also placed second in the mile at conference three times.
The Chicago attorney, who was student body president as a senior, has served his alma mater on its board of trustees for 30 years.
Rob Purlee ’04 (Columbus, Ohio, formerly of Mount Carroll, Ill.)
As a new century dawned, the son of a standout Monmouth College quarterback ushered in a new era in the passing game for Fighting Scots football.
By the time Rob Purlee was finished, Monmouth was again a force in the Midwest Conference. Purlee rewrote the passing section of the record book – in some cases eclipsing marks set a quarter-century before by his father, Dave.
The MWC’s Offensive Player of the Year as a senior, Purlee earned three all-conference selections while completing 514 passes for 8,017 yards (good for a school-record 15.6-yards per completion) and 83 TDs. The other three marks rank second on the Scots’ all-time list. Among his 23 quarterback wins were 8-2 records his sophomore and senior seasons and four Bronze Turkey Game victories against Knox.
Purlee also had a knack for passing on the hardwood, ranking sixth in career assists per game (2.8).
Jonny Henkins ’08 (Breckenridge, Colo., formerly of Kewanee, Ill.)
Pole vaulter Jonny Henkins was pushed to his highest not only during track and field competitions but also in practices, as one of his teammates was a national-caliber performer in Henkins’s event. At two NCAA meets, Henkins bested that talented teammate, Peter Sprecher, as well as every other vaulter in the country, to claim national championships.
Henkins won both titles his senior season. At the 2008 NCAA indoor meet, his 10 points helped earn Monmouth its highest-ever team finish in any sport, as the Scots placed runner-up to UW-La Crosse.
In all, Henkins was a four-time All-American and six-time national qualifier. At Midwest Conference meets, he won the pole vault once and was twice named a Most Outstanding Performer. The Scots won all eight MWC team titles during his career.
With a best vault of 17-0 3/4, Henkins was one of four Scots to clear 17 feet at the time of his induction.