Prior to taking the helm of the Boilermakers wrestling program, Henkel had served as an assistant coach for 14 seasons. Before that, Henkel wrestled for Purdue, earning All-American honors at 126 pounds at the 1987 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Hinkel has just completed his seventh season as Purdue head coach, leading that Big Ten program to a 74-57-2 overall record, for a .564 winning percentage. He coached three NCAA All-Americans: Jake Patacsil (who placed fifth at 149 pounds at the 2009 NCAAs), Cashé Quiroga (sixth place at 125 in 2010) and Ivan Lopouchanski (seventh place at 149 in 2013).
At the 2014 Big Ten conference championships, Purdue placed 11th out of 12 schools, while, at the 2014 NCAA championships, the Boilermakers came in 39th place in the team standings.
One of Hinkel’s hallmarks was his emphasis not just on wrestling, but academics and community service as well. During his time as head coach, Purdue wrestling’s GPA (grade point average) rose to become one of the best in the Big Ten. In addition, Hinkel guided his wrestlers to participate in numerous activities to support the local community and its schools.
Purdue administrators heaped praise on the outgoing mat coach.
"Scott has worked tirelessly to build our wrestling program and elevate its popularity on our campus and throughout the community," said associate athletics director Calvin Williams, responsible for the school’s wrestling program. "He cares deeply about his student-athletes and their well-being both on the mat and in the classroom. It has been a pleasure working with him the last three years."
"Scott is a Boilermaker through and through," athletics director Morgan Burke said. "He has been a tremendous ambassador for Purdue University for 25 years. In addition to his work with our wrestlers athletically and academically, Scott has been a strong advocate for the John Purdue Club and recruiting former student-athletes to join the Varsity P Club. I want to personally thank Scott for his contributions and wish him and his family all the best."
A long-time fixture with the Purdue mat program as both an athlete and coach, Henkel was reflective in his statement concerning his departure as his coach.
"Purdue University has been my home for most of my adult life, but there comes a time when you feel it is in everyone's best interest to move away from home," Hinkel said. "I appreciate the support I have received from everyone at the university and our fans. It is difficult to walk away from my wrestlers and fellow alumni, but I know they will persevere and do what they can to keep this program on the right track."
Henkel’s departure from Purdue isn’t immediate; he will serve in an administrative position within the school’s athletics department through the end of June.
In announcing Henkel’s retirement, Purdue revealed that a national search will begin for his replacement. Assistant wrestling coaches Pete Rogers and Chris Fleeger will continue in their current roles pending the hire of a new head coach.