Coaches

Head Coach - Dr. Carson Cunningham

Dr. Carson Cunningham begins his first season as head coach of the Carroll College Men's Basketball program. The former standout at both Oregon State and Purdue has spent the last five years at Andrean High School (his alma mater) in Merrillville, Indiana, where his teams have won 43 of their last 50 games. 

In five years at the helm, Cunningham has turned a program around that had won two games the season before he arrived into one that has won four straight sectional titles and has improved its win totals for five years running.  This year, his Andrean team made it to the final four in Indiana’s second biggest class (3A) and was ranked #3 in the state.

Cunningham’s basketball resume as a player is also remarkably impressive.  He was a four-year starter at Andrean High School where he was the Region’s “player of the Year” as a junior and senior, a first team  All-State selection and honorable mention All-America selection as well as earning the distinction as one of the nation’s top 100 players.  He took his talents across the country to Oregon State University, where he was a starter as a true freshman at point guard, earning freshman All-America honors.  Cunningham had 28 points against Texas and 26 vs. Nebraska as a freshman, when he scored in double figures in 22 games.

Following his freshman season, he transferred back to his home state of Indiana, joining Coach Gene Keady’s Purdue Boilermakers.  He became a three-year starter and led Purdue to a pair of “Sweet 16” appearances and one spot in the “Elite Eight.”  In his three seasons, Cunningham scored nearly 1,000 points, handed out near 400 assists and had 163 rebounds.  He was also one of only three two-time Academic All-America selections in the history of Purdue, with the late legendary Coach John Wooden being one of the others. 

In conjunction with his coaching duties, Cunningham was an instructor in the history department and the department of cinema and digital media at DePaul University in Chicago since 2006. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Purdue University (2000), a Master of Arts in Modern American History (2001) and a PhD in History (2006), also at Purdue.  
 
  



Cunningham also spent three seasons playing professional basketball.  He was with the Gary Steelheads (2001-2002) and the Rockford Lightning (2002-2003 and 2004-2005) of the CBA and the Estonian Basketball Association (2003). 

Dr. Cunningham he is also the author of three books – American Hoops, Underbelly Hoops – Adventures in the CBA and Before the Curse, a collection of vintage stories about the Chicago Cubs during their glory years.



Cunningham and his wife, Christy, a former volleyball standout at Purdue, have four children – daughters Caroline (8), Catie Joy (3) and sons Case (6) and Indiana (11 months).  

Assistant Coach - Dan Pearson

Dan is heading into his first season as a member of head coach Carson Cunningham's staff.  An alumnus of the storied Carroll College Men's Basketball program, Dan brings valuable knowledge and experience to the sidelines.  In addition to competing for the Saints from 2008-2012, Dan served for two seasons (2011, 2013) as an assistant coach for Carroll Hall of Famer Guy Almquist at Helena Capital High School, where he helped lead the Bruins to a runner-up finish at the state tournament in 2013. 

Dan is also heavily involved in NBC Camps, having worked camps all across the world for seven years, and is the co-founder of Elite League Basketball Academies, whose presence stretches across the state of Montana.  Dan is a 2008 graduate of Billings Central Catholic High School.

Assistant Coach - Carlito Labarda Jr.

CarlitoCoach Labarda Jr. is starting his first season at Carroll College under Coach Cunningham. Labarda attended Purdue University from 1994-1999, where he was a manager and student assistant coach under Hall of Fame Coach Gene Keady and, then assistant, Coach Bruce Weber (Kansas State). During his tenure at Purdue, the Boilermakers claimed two Big Ten Championships and made five straight NCAA appearances and advancing to the Sweet 16 twice.

 After leaving Purdue, Labarda coached at the high school level, beginning at Lakes High School in Tacoma WA., where he led the program from 2001-03.  After his two years at Lakes HS, Labarda Jr. became the Head Coach at Saint Anthony’s High School in Long Beach Ca. from 2003-05, where guided the Saints to a Final Four appearance in the CIF playoffs.

Labarda Jr. coached at the junior college level from 2006-11.  Labarda Jr.'s juco coaching experience came at El Camino College in Torrance, CA. and Los Angeles Harbor College.  Carlito has had the privilege of working camps throughout the nation during his coaching career, notably at the Michael Jordan Camp.  Labarda is originally from San Pedro, Ca.