dan purcellOne of the most dominant and durable offensive linemen in Salem Wildcats, Dan Purcell was an anchor to some of the most successful seasons in the program’s history.

A 1988 SCHS graduate, Purcell cracked the varsity lineup in 1985 and helped lead the Wildcats to an undefeated North Egypt Conference championship, the first unbeaten and untied regular season in school history, a school record ten wins in a season and the program’s first ever playoff win against Troy Triad.

Purcell was also a key cog up front for the 1986 Wildcats squad that earned a three-way share of the NEC championship with Mt. and Olney. Salem went 7-3 on the season and earned another berth in the state playoffs.

The Wildcats matched their deepest advancement in the postseason in Purcell’s senior season of 1987, as Salem’s 8-3 record included a first-round playoff win over Olney.

Purcell, who earned All-NEC honors in high school, continued his playing career for the next four seasons at Eastern Illinois University.

Purcell not only made the traveling squad for EIU as a freshman, but worked his way into the starting lineup at left offensive tackle for the season opener. Purcell hung on to that starting spot for every game for the rest of that season and the next three seasons. His 1989 Panthers squad advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I AA playoffs.

Purcell was looked at by several NFL scouts and had tryout opportunities after college, but was unable to land a contract.