|Carbondale University High School|
|Pulliam Hall at Southern Illinois University|
The History of Carbondale University High School
Carbondale (population 20,681) is located in southern Illinois in southeastern Jackson County. Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51 intersect in the center of town. Carbondale is also somewhat of a railroad hub with four different tracks of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad meeting in Carbondale from four different directions. Illinois’ 109th biggest city is most famous for its college, Southern Illinois University. It is from SIU that Carbondale University High School was based.
Carbondale University High School was probably established in the early 1900s. The earliest mention of the school is in boys basketball in 1914. The school was probably primarily built for training prospective teachers in that program at SIU. The school lasted several decades and excelled in many different areas. The year was 1968 when Carbondale “U-High” was closed. The children of U-High then attended Carbondale High School.
Alumnus Anne Stinnett recalls the swimming pool at the school which was used during physical education class. This was especially stressful for the girls with bouffant hair-dos of the 1960s!! She also recalls her answer to the famous question “Where were you when you heard Kennedy was shot?”. Anne had heard this from a classmate but did not believe it until the news was read over the school’s intercom system.
The original Carbondale University High School building still stands today. It is now used by Southern Illinois University and is called Pulliam Hall.
Carbondale University High School Quick Facts
Year opened: early 1900s
Original Use: teachers training school
Year closed: 1968
Building today: still in use as University building.
School nickname: the “Lynxes”
School colors: Maroon & Gray
School Fight Song: unavailable
The Carbondale University High School Lynxes had IHSA success (www.ihsa.org) in boys basketball. One individual brought home medals in boys track and boys cross-country. There were also five medals won in boys tennis. It is believed the school closed before girls sports were recognized by the IHSA. Carbondale University High School was a member of the Black Diamond Conference.
The school REALLY excelled in Speech and Drama competition offered by the IHSA. This will be written about in length below. The IHSA athletic success of University High School is listed below.
The U-High Lynxes had one year of IHSA success, but what a doosie! The Lynxes of 1914-15 placed 4th in the one-class state tournament. The Lynxes beat a tough Decatur team in the quarter-final round before losing to the eventual State Champion Freeport High School in the semi-final game. The Lynxes dropped the consolation game to Shelbyville to finish in fourth place. With a final record of 9 – 4 this is an incredible accomplishment. From 1915 until the school closed there is no mention of the U-High kids winning any more IHSA team hardware in sports. The successful season in boys basketball is listed below.
1914-15 District/Regional/Sectional Champions Coach F.G. Warren
Universlty High 22 Decatur 21
University High 14 Freeport 38 (Freeport eventual State Champs!)
University High 8 Shelbyville 33
1965-66 19 – 4 Conference Champions (undefeated) Coach Bill Jackson
Asst. Larry Bell
1966-67 Conference Champions Coach Bill Jackson
Asst. Larry Bell
Five medals were won by three individuals listed below. Unfortunately first names of the athletes are not available.
1914 Hessler Doubles 3rd Place
Hodge Doubles 3rd Place
Hessler Singles 4th Place
1915 Meiler Doubles 3rd Place
Hessler Doubles 3rd Place
Boys Track & Field
One male athlete excelled in the old one-class system and earned a medal at the State Track Meet.
1946-47 Joseph McLafferty 1 Mile Run 2nd Place
Boys Cross Country
Joseph McLafferty pulled off a double in 1946-47 with a medal winning performance in Cross-Country as well.
1946-47 Joseph McLafferty 6th Place
The Lynxes competed on the grid iron as well. We are searching for some of the team records however we do know that the team of 1965-66 won the school’s first conference championship in this sport!! The coach of the Lynxes that year was Ed(Doc) Bencini. Some of the better seasons in Lynx’ history are listed below courtesy of Tom Sikorski:
1952 2-5 6th place Coal Belt Conference
1953 2-5 5th place Coal Belt Conference
1954 1-6 6th place Coal Belt Conference
1956 Independent Coach Doc Bencini
1957 3-2-1 Independent Coach Doc Bencini
1958 3-1 Independent Coach Doc Bencini
1959 Independent Coach Doc Bencini
1960 5-1 Independent Coach Doc Bencini
1961 4-2 Independent Coach Doc Bencini
1962 5th Place Black Diamond Conference Coach Doc Bencini
1963 5-2 Black Diamond Conference Co-Champs Coach Doc Bencini
1964 3-3 4th place Black Diamond Conference Coach Doc Bencini
1965 5-2 Black Diamond Conference Champs Coach Doc Bencini
1966 4-2 2nd Place Black Diamond Conference Coach Doc Bencini
Coach Bill Jackson
1966 was the last year Carbondale U-High fielded a football team.
SPEECH, DRAMA, DEBATE COMPETITION
As one might guess the Carbondale University High School Lynxes excelled in Speech, Drama, and Debate competition. The best finish for the school in this area was a State Runner-up Finish in Speech Team competition in 1963!! The team also finished 6th in both 1962 and 1966. Unfortunately the coaches names are not available. The individual medalists and team finishes in the respective categories are listed below.
Speech Individual Events
1950 Mary Lou Heatherly Verse 4th Place
1951 Marilyn Wakefield Comedy 3rd Place
1952 Richard Rieke Radio 3rd Place
1953 Robert Talley Extemp 2nd Place
1954 Joyce Hastings Orat Declam 5th Place
1955 Anne Bracewell Radio 5th Place
1962 Howard Benson Radio State Champion
1963 Frosti Croslin Orig Oratory State Champion
1963 Jacob Bach Radio 3rd Place
1963 Julian McHale After Dinner 3rd Place
1966 Kenneth Whitener Serious State Champion
Overall Team Finishes – Speech Competition
1961-62 Team Placed 6th Overall
Final Team Standings
1.) North Chicago 14
2.) Clifton Central 10
3.) Park Forest 9
4.) Galesburg 8
5.) Freeport 6
5.) Aurora West 6
6.) Carbondale U-High 5
Five others tied with 5 points
1962-63 Team Finished as State Runner-Up (2nd Place)!!
Final Team Standings
1.) Lansing T.F. 12
2.) Carbondale U-High 11
2.) Waukegan 11
2.) Pekin 11
5.) Dolton Thornridge 9
5.) Proviso West 9
7.) Peoria Richwoods 8
7.) Rock Island 8
9.) Peoria Woodruff 7
10.) Normal U-High 6
10.) Morton West 6
1965-66 Team Finished 6th Overall
Final Team Standings
1.) Pekin 10
2.) Bradley Bourb. 9
3.) Highland Park 8
4.) Ottawa 6
4.) Peoria Woodruff 6
6.) Carbondale U-High 5
7 other teams tied with 5 points
Speech Sweepstakes Competition
1962-62 School Placed 7th Overall
2.) Lansing T.F.
3.) Proviso West
5.) Proviso East
5.) Peoria Richwoods
7.) Carbonsdale University High School
9.) Wood River – East Alton
10.) Dolton Thornridge
Carbondale U-High also won three Sectional titles in Drama competition and qualified for the State Meet in the following years.
1950-51 Sectional Champions State Qualifier
1959-60 Sectional Champions State Qualifier
1964-65 Sectional Champions State Qualifier
The Debate Team at Carbondale University High School added to the many titles won by the academic department of the school. The CUHS Debate Team won four Sectional titles. The years of the titles are listed below.
1952-53 Sectional Champions
1953-54 Sectional Champions
1958-59 Sectional Champions
1961-62 Sectional Champions
From Laura Wilson:
“I attended Carbondale University School. The last graduating class was 1968. The school also excelled in music! Check out our web site at : www.uschool-alumi.org There are more pictures of the school and more information on the site. In June we are having our every 5 year ALL SCHOOL REUNION (all class all years—–including the orphan classes–those that went to grade school there and could not go to high school because of the phasing out of the school). It was a wonderful place to attend school, even though you Mother or Father may be a teacher there (some also taught at the University.). Many of the students were “Faculty Brats”. I believe we were the only school (grade & high schools) that charged tuition to attend. I lived in Murphysboro but attended U.School from 2nd grade thru High School and then “crossed the street” to attend college at SIUC. The school actually had a nursery, a kindergarten, & 1st grade, but my name didn’t come up on “the list” until I was in 2nd grade. Enrollment was limited to 25 in the grades and 50 in 7th and in 8th grades (2 sections of 25). It was opened up in High School. My class was one of the largest with about 78 in the graduating class. My experiences there were often very different than my friends from Murphysboro. At prom, the three schools in Carbondale came together at midnight for a movie and then another dance & breakfast at one of the high schools. Of the 3 high schools, only Carbondale Community High School is still in existence. (Carbondale Attucks and University School are closed).”
From Veronica Gold:
“The SIU Library at Carbondale has boxes of records regarding the school, including yearbooks. The library description refers to the school as University School or University High School. All of our high school teachers were mentors/supervising teachers for undergraduate students in SIU’s College of Education. We were taught often by those students doing their practicums or student teaching. The school was started in 1917 and I graduated in a class of appx. 25 students in 1966. One of the benefits of attending the school was early matriculation to the main campus at SIU. Many students like myself were permitted to take college classes, much like today’s AP classes in high schools. Our school was located on the SIU campus.
Since I live in Ohio, it’s not likely that I will visit the SIU library to see the records collection, but in case others care to check out the archive, the web site is http://archives.lib.siu.edu/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=97.
Thank you again for your efforts. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from you and really appreciate the information you provided.”
ALWAYS WANTING MORE
If you have any more information you can add to the Carbondale High School Lynxes’ lore please drop us a line. Photos and personal stories are welcome. There had to be some other great athletic teams in CUHS’ storied past. You can e-mail items to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631