Carbondale University High School “Lynxes”

Carbondale University High School
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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

Carbondale U-High Pool
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Pulliam Hall – SIU


The Carbondale University High School Lynxes had IHSA success ( 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.

Boys Basketball

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.

Carbondale U-High Gym
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Courtesy of Adam Rosoho (left click for larger view)
Carbondale U-High Gym
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Courtesy of Adam Rosoho (left click for larger view)
Carbondale U-High Gym
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Courtesy of Adam Rosoho (left click for larger view)

1914-15       District/Regional/Sectional Champions      Coach F.G. Warren


                   Universlty High 22  Decatur 21


                   University High 14  Freeport 38  (Freeport eventual State Champs!)

                         Consolation Game

                   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                  

Boys Tennis

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

Boys Football

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

1955             Independent

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.


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

                Final Standings

                1.)  Pekin

2.)  Lansing T.F.

3.)  Proviso West

4.)  Waukegan

5.)  Proviso East

5.)  Peoria Richwoods

7.)  Carbonsdale University High School

8.)  Evanston

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 :   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

Thank you again for your efforts.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear from you and really appreciate the information you provided.”


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  You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.   60631

Carbondale University High School
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Pulliam Hall – SIU Campus

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