Barry McNamara  |   Published September 16, 2022

Big Wins For Scots

Fighting Scots have big wins in competitions and in classroom, Haynes says at Associates

ROGER HAYNES: The College's director of athletics addressed the Monmouth Associates audience ... ROGER HAYNES: The College's director of athletics addressed the Monmouth Associates audience before introducing the six Fighting Scots coaches in attendance.MONMOUTH, Ill. – As Monmouth College’s director of athletics, Roger Haynes is obviously looking for wins.

But with 22 sports to oversee, Haynes is especially intent on the Fighting Scots posting big-picture wins, such as conference titles, national-qualifying teams and individuals, and high finishes in the Midwest Conference’s All-Sport Standings.

Haynes and many of the Scots’ fall sports coaches detailed what it takes to have that type of success Thursday at the first Monmouth Associates luncheon of the academic year.

Before introducing the six coaches in attendance, many of whom are “young and have unbelievable energy,” Haynes told the audience that Monmouth has some “really, really bright kids.”

Scholar athletes

Several of those kids chose Monmouth after attending the College’s annual Scholarship Day, where prospective students compete for the school’s top academic awards. The women’s soccer team was a big beneficiary of last February’s event, as four students opted to attend Monmouth and play for coach Lucas Henderson’s Fighting Scots.

Haynes told the story of first-year student Carina Engst of Bloomington, Illinois, a member of the Fighting Scots’ track and field team who received one of the College’s top academic scholarships. BRIAN DAHLSTROM: Monmouth's new tennis coach addresses the audience Thursday. Also pictured a... BRIAN DAHLSTROM: Monmouth's new tennis coach addresses the audience Thursday. Also pictured are women's soccer coach Lucas Henderson, now in his second season, and first-year cross country coach Brady Hunt.

“Because of her strong academics, she certainly had a lot of choices for which college to attend,” he said. “She wouldn’t have come to Monmouth if not for track and field.”

The longtime coach said Engst is an example of what helps drive talented athletes to Monmouth.

“I’ve always believed that Monmouth can draw students because we have multiple hooks for their multiple interests,” said Haynes, who led Monmouth’s track team from 1984-2021. “The more hooks they have, the better experience they’ll have at Monmouth.”

‘Personalities and relationships’

Henderson said Monmouth’s small size translates to smaller classes and the opportunity to form relationships with faculty.

“It also provides opportunities to be a leader on their teams and on campus,” he said.

Haynes provided another reason why talented athletes choose to suit up for the Fighting Scots.

“I think it’s all about personalities and relationships. A big part of the recruiting process is the relationships that the prospective students build with the coaches.” Roger Haynes 

“I think it’s all about personalities and relationships,” he said. “A big part of the recruiting process is the relationships that the prospective students build with the coaches. They want someone who is like-minded, and I think we’ve made good choices in selecting our coaches, who are able to form those relationships.”

Getting students to visit campus is also a critical part of the recruiting process.

“If we can get a student here, it’s a huge sell,” said Emily Butler, who coached last year’s volleyball team to an MWC playoff berth. “We can show them what our campus has to offer, how beautiful the campus is and the great facilities that we have.”

Athletic and academic success

The volleyball team’s strong showing was one of several for the Scots’ women’s teams. In his final season leading the track teams, Haynes coached the women’s squad to an outdoor conference crown. Women’s basketball placed second in the MWC, and the softball team also reached the playoffs. It all added up to a second-place finish for Monmouth’s women in the league’s All-Sports Standings.

Haynes expressed pride in that accomplishment, and also in the 165 Monmouth athletes named to the MWC’s All-Academic Team, which requires a minimum 3.30 grade point average. Additionally, six Scots squads earned national all-academic honors by achieving cumulative team GPAs of at least 3.30.

“The coaches really drive the students to achieve academically. I coached a lot of members of the football team, and they were always seated at the front of the class.” Ken McMillan

Retired business professor Ken McMillan, who attended the luncheon, praised Monmouth’s coaching staff for the emphasis it places on academics.

“The coaches really drive the students to achieve academically,” he said. “I taught a lot of members of the football team, and they were always seated at the front of the class. I never had a problem with a Monmouth athlete.”

Haynes also used the Associates gathering as a time to tout some of the College’s upgraded athletic facilities, including the six tennis courts, which now have new surfaces and windscreens imprinted with Monmouth’s block “M.” At Glasgow Field, the batting cage is now turf-based, allowing it still to be functional during the traditionally soggy weather each spring.

New office spaces for the Scots’ football coaches are in the works, and Haynes noted that even a small change in the Huff Athletic Center has made an impact.

“I like to take credit for the idea of adding six leather lounge chairs in the lobby outside our offices,” he said. “They’re very popular with the students. They get filled up pretty quickly.”

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