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Carson Cunningham interviewing for college job; Kirk Kennedy likely new coach at North Judson

Lowell Red Devils coach Kirk Kennedy talks his players after close wover Plymouth during second round sectionals. | Scott R.

Lowell Red Devils coach, Kirk Kennedy, talks to his players after a close win over Plymouth during the second round of the sectionals. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 8, 2013 6:33AM



Six reasons Kirk Kennedy should return to Northwest Indiana and coach again.

1. It’s colder here in the fall and it’s way cooler to see a guy stomping up and down on the sidelines in shorts in below freezing weather than it is in central Indiana.

2. Kennedy is a run first coach, a Woody Hayes disciple, whose personality fits the rough hewn edges of the Region like a billowing steel mill. He is one of us, not one of them. He belongs here, not down there.

3. North Judson, the school that has offered him its head coaching job, has a wishbone history, dating back to Russ Radtke days as the head coach.

4. The rural, agricultural fit in North Judson-San Pierre is the perfect place for Kennedy to park his motorcycle. He did his best work at Lowell, a city that mirrors North Judson in many ways.

5. Newspaper guys love covering his games because they always finish at least 30 minutes earlier than a normal high school game. Why? Because when passing the ball is a distant second option, it makes the game move along much faster.

6. Kennedy hasn’t changed his cell phone number, which has a 219 area code, since he left for Bloomington South at the start of the 2010 season.

More Kennedy notes: Kennedy’s good friend, Brad Stewart, the coach at Kankakee Valley said on Friday that Kennedy was offered the North Judson job. Kevin Cox, the Blue Jays coach, resigned after 11 seasons this year. North Judson finished 5-7 in 2012 and they lost in the 2A sectional final to Lewis Cass this year. Stewart also said that Kennedy, who resigned from Bloomington South after three seasons with a 4-26 record, had other options he was exploring.

North Judson athletic director Rob Vessley, in an e-mail Tuesday, wrote in response to a question about Kennedy being named the new coach, that he “would be sending out an official statement Wednesday.”

The North Judson school board meets the third Tuesday every month. They have a work session scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday. What does this all mean? I’m guessing that Kennedy will be the new guy. Kennedy said he didn’t have any comment at this time in a text message.

Cunningham interviews for college job: The Carson Cunningham era at Andrean could be coming to an end after five seasons. Cunningham, 84-39 in his tenure as the 59er’s coach, is one of four finalists for the Carroll College Saints job in Helena, Montana. The Saints are an NAIA school.

The interview process, to say the least, is unique.

The school posted the names of all four finalists on its website and the local newspaper, the Independent, ran a story about all the candidates. On Monday and Tuesday of next week, all four of the applicants will have an open forum in front of the community, where the public can ask questions.

The job looks like a good fit for Cunningham, who doubles as a history teacher at DePaul in addition to being the 59er’s head coach. Andrean won a Regional title for the first time since 2000 this year. He also is probably a long shot. The Independent story leads with Stephen Keller as the top candidate. Keller coaches at the University of Montana Western and he was an assistant at Carroll for three seasons. He has guided UMW to four NAIA play-off appearances. The other two coaches all have college coaching experience. Cunningham will interview later this week for the position, which had more than 200 applicants. Cunningham played out west at Oregon State before transferring back to Purdue and finishing up as a Boilermaker in 2011.

In a text, Cunningham wrote: “I’m flattered that Montana’s Carroll College, one of the West’s leading academic institutions and an NAIA athletic power, has invited me out to talk further about being its next men’s basketball coach. When I return from Montana, I can comment further.”



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