By Troy Shockley, Helena IR
Mike Burns is happy at the University of San Diego. But there’s something about Carroll College, he said, that screams right place, right time.
Burns was the last of four finalists seeking to fill the men’s basketball coaching vacancy to speak on campus in a community forum on Tuesday. School officials hope to make a decision by the end of the week.
The head assistant coach for the last five seasons at the private, Catholic school, Burns has had previous success as a head coach. Before his time at USD, he led Community Colleges of Spokane to a No. 1 ranking in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges and a second place at the NWAACC tournament in the 2007-08 season. His team finished the year 30-2 and he was named the region’s coach of the year.
By Amber Kuehn, Helena IR
Academics aren’t just something Carson Cunningham preaches to his student athletes. As a scholar himself, he’s as entrenched in classroom standards as he is in success on the basketball court.
Cunningham, one of four finalists for the men’s basketball head coaching job at Carroll College, was on campus Monday for the third of four community forums with the candidates. The final question-and-answer session will be held today at 2 p.m. with Michael Burns. Steve Keller and Tim Cleary interviewed with the school last week.
Cunningham has been the varsity boys basketball coach at Andrean High School in Indiana for the past five years, but for those questioning his readiness for the jump to collegiate athletics, he has experience working with students of that age already to his credit. Cunningham — who has a doctorate in history — has taught at DePaul for the past six years, where he is currently pursuing his master’s in business administration. He has also written three books, including one titled “Underbelly Hoops: Adventures in the CBA — A.K.A The Crazy Basketball Association,” where he chronicles his experiences of playing in the professional league. His first book, “American Hoops: U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball from Berlin to Beijing,” originated as a dissertation before being published by the University of Nebraska in 2009.
By Troy Shockley, Helena IR
For more than 10 years, Tim Cleary has kept a watchful eye on Carroll College. On Tuesday, he was on campus to interview for the men’s basketball coaching position and took some time to speak with community members in the second of four open forums with the finalists.
Montana Western coach Steve Keller spoke on Monday, while the final two candidates — Dr. Carson Cunningham, the boys coach at Andrean High School in Indiana, and University of San Diego coach Michael Burns — will speak at forums at 2 p.m. next Monday and Tuesday. A decision is possible as soon as next Friday.
The head coach at Pacific University in Oregon for the past three seasons, Cleary was the top assistant at Boise State from 2002-10. It was at that time the California native fell in love with the Northwest.
By Troy Shockley, Helena IR
Steve Keller teared up at the thought of leaving his players at the University of Montana Western. But the chance at returning to the place he calls home is too great an opportunity to pass up.
One of four finalists to fill the opening as Carroll College’s men’s basketball coach, Keller spoke to and answered questions from community members on Monday in the first of four open forums with the finalists. Another forum, with Pacific University coach Tim Cleary, will take place at 2 p.m. today at Carroll.
None of the final four, however, has as intimate a knowledge of Helena and Carroll itself as does Keller. He’s spent the last six years at Western, but also served as a volunteer assistant at Carroll and three state titles while coaching at Helena High.
“I love my guys. … It’s hard leaving your players,” he said. “I don’t really want to leave them. But this is a better job. This is a great job. It’s a step up, and everything about Carroll is first class. And this is my home. I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.”
By the Helena IR
A list of four finalists to fill the men's basketball coaching vacancy has been released by Carroll College -- and one of them is likely a familiar name to Saints fans.
That name is Steve Keller, the current coach at the University of Montana Western. Keller has been the coach at Western for the past six years, qualifying for the NAIA tournament in each of the last four. This past season, his team reached the Elite 8. Before his tenure with the Bulldogs, however, Keller was an assistant at Carroll. In his three years on staff, the team qualified for the national tournament twice. He holds a 121-73 record at Western and in a dozen years coaching high school teams, he's got an impressive 610-180 mark, including six state championships.
Also on the list Michael Burns, Tim Cleary and Carson Cunningham.
Carroll College Athletic Director Bruce Parker has announced that Billings West High School wing Andrew Campbell has committed to play basketball for the Carroll College Fighting Saints in the fall of 2013.
Campbell, a 6’5 wing, was a two-year varsity starter and team MVP in 2013 at Billings West. Campbell averaged 17 points, six rebounds and three assists per game, earning him First Team All-State, First Team All-Conference and First Team honors at the Montana Class AA State Tournament. Campbell led the Golden Bears to a 19-5 record this past season. As a junior he was second team All-Conference selection as West won the Class AA state title en route to a 22-1 record. Campbell was recently named as one of the 10 members of the Montana All-Stars that will battle the Wyoming in the Montana-Wyoming All-Star game on June 7th (Sheridan, Wyoming) and 8th (Billings).
“We are ecstatic that Andrew has decided to enroll at Carroll College and become part of the Saints’ Athletic family,” said Parker. “He is an outstanding student and a tremendous basketball athlete who will make an immediate impact in our program. Andrew comes to Carroll from a tremendous program at Billings West, where academics is important and the basketball program has had great success. He will be a great fit at Carroll!”
Campbell, who plans on majoring in Business while at Carroll, currently has a 3.96 GPA. He is a Member of National Honor Society, Trading Cards, a Student Mentor and an Honor Roll student at Billings West.
“I am exceptionally pleased that Andrew will be able to continue his basketball career, especially at an institution like Carroll College. It is a great place for him. I am happy for both partied involved. “ said Billings West head Coach Doug Robison.
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