Press Release Courtesy of Carroll College Athletics.
HELENA, Mont. – Dr. Carson Cunningham has stepped down as the Carroll College Men's Basketball Head Coach and will take the helm as the Head Coach of NCAA Division I University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
"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. "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"
Cunningham departs after a five-year stint that saw the Saints rise from a two-win team the season before he was hired to three-straight NAIA Division I National Championship appearances, including two trips to NAIA Quarterfinals and this season, a trip to the round of 16.
He also led Carroll to two straight Frontier Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
The Saints have three First-Team All-Americans in school history and two were coached by Cunningham. Last year, Zach Taylor closed his stellar career with an All-American nod. Ryan Imhoff earned NAIA National Player of the Year honors this season.
Statistically, the Saints led NAIA DI for shooting percentage and free throw percentage for each of the last three seasons.
Cunningham's legacy stretches to the classroom where he saw the Saints capture NAIA Scholar Team honors over the past three seasons.
He was named the Frontier Conference Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season and closes his time as a Fighting Saint with a 107-52 (.673) record. Cunningham was the fastest basketball coach in Carroll history to reach the 100-win plateau, hitting the mark in just 150 games.
"We are grateful to Carson for the firm foundation that he has laid for Carroll basketball, not only on the court, but in the classroom and community as well," athletic director Charlie Gross said. "We wish Carson, Christy and the rest of the family the best as they move to San Antonio."
Carroll College Interim President Fr. Stephen Rowan echoed Gross' sentiments.
"Carson has built an exciting and skillful team of players who are also stars in the classroom," he said. "We at Carroll understand his decision to pursue this exciting opportunity as head coach at an NCAA Division I school, and we are proud that Carroll College has been a part of his journey."
Carroll Athletics will immediately go to work to find Cunningham's successor.
"We will move quickly to hire the next leader of our men's basketball team, and I am confident that we will find a coach that will continue to recruit high-quality student-athletes to build on the success of our team," Gross said. "We want a leader who has the energy and vision to guide Carroll men's basketball forward with the ultimate goal of winning a national title."