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Carroll College’s Carson Cunningham officially headed to Incarnate Word

Posted at 12:46 PM, Mar 22, 2018

SAN ANTONIO — Carroll College is officially seeking a new men’s basketball coach.

The University of the Incarnate Word announced Thursday that Dr. Carson Cunningham has been hired as the Cardinals’ men’s basketball coach.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman first reported Cunningham’s imminent hiring.

Cunningham has spent the past five years at Carroll College, where he helped turn the Saints into a perennial powerhouse.

“Thank you to all the Carroll players I’ve had the good fortune to coach and to all the assistant coaches at Carroll I’ve been able to work with,” Cunningham said in a Carroll College release announcing his resignation. “Carroll College will always hold a special place in my heart and in the hearts of my wife Christy and our kids. Thank you as well to the Carroll Administration, Athletics Department and to the entire Carroll campus over these five years. What a wonderful place, Carroll College, and what great memories we were able to create together. Of course, my family and I will forever remain Fighting Saints, and remain excited to cheer on Carroll Athletics”

Carroll won just two games during the 2012-13 season prior to Cunningham’s arrival. The Saints have had four consecutive winning seasons and qualified for the NAIA national tournament three times. Under Cunningham, Carroll posted a 107-52 overall record, winning two Frontier Conference regular-season titles and two Frontier Conference Tournament titles.

Carroll advanced to the national quarterfinals in 2016 and 2017 before falling in the second round last week in Kansas City. Cunningham was named the league’s 2017-18 coach of the year.

“After a thorough search, we are pleased to announce Dr. Cunningham as our new men’s basketball coach,” Incarnate Word director of athletics Dr. Brian Wickstrom said in a release. “All of our final candidates who spoke with the committee participated in postseason play with their respective schools, and Dr. Cunningham’s background and experience align best with our university mission.

“After the interviews, I received calls from Gene Keady, former Purdue basketball coach, and Brad Stevens, the head coach of the Boston Celtics, and they reinforced my belief that Carson will be a successful NCAA Division I basketball coach. We are excited to welcome Carson, Caroline, Christy, Catie Joy, Mabelline Lucille, Case and Indiana to the UIW Family.”

Incarnate Word was searching for a new coach after announcing coach Ken Burmeister would not return earlier this month. The Cardinals finished 7-21 overall and a dismal 2-16 in the Southland Conference last season.