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Basketball: Andrean’s Carson Cunningham heading to Carroll College in Montana

Andrean's Head Coach CarsCunningham argues call with referee which eventually led technical foul during their game held Andrean High School

Andrean's Head Coach Carson Cunningham argues a call with the referee which eventually led to a technical foul during their game held at Andrean High School on Friday February 15, 2013. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 23, 2013 6:28AM



Carson Cunningham and his wife, Christy, flew out to Helena, Mont., with an open mind and a can-do attitude about embracing change for him and the family if the fit was right.

Cunningham was on stage — with three other candidates in a one-of-a-kind interview setting — for the head basketball coaching job at Carroll College, a small, Catholic liberal arts school.

Speaking strictly in sporting terms, Cunningham hit a home run in the community forum setting. That’s the place where the coaches get grilled by the public about their style, their background and their values.

Cunningham joked about how Montana has almost as many basketball hoops per capita as Indiana. He preached personal responsibility and high academic standards. He talked about his visit to Carroll College for an exhibition game as a player.

And he looked fabulous in a gray suit with a yellow tie, quite a contrast to the lumpy shoes and bulky sweaters he wore on game day as the Andrean coach.

On Tuesday, the deal was officially closed for the 59ers’ coach when he was named the coach of the Fighting Saints. Cunningham beat out 216 other candidates for the job, almost all of them with college coaching experience. The three other finalists were either head college coaches or college assistants.

In a release that was quintessential Cunningham, he said his family was “pumped to be Fighting Saints” and he thanked the Andrean family, former athletic director Tim Crnkovich and former principal the Rev. Paul Quanz for giving him the chance to coach.

And he was deeply appreciative of the players’ “thoughtfulness, fantastic energy and competitive fire.”

Cunningham finished 81-39 in five seasons at Andrean. His teams won four sectionals and a regional.

Cunningham will have his work cut out for him. Carroll finished 2-25 last season, though all five starters return.



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