Courtesy: Carroll Sports Information
Carroll College Athletic Director Charlie Grosstoday announced the hiring of former Carroll player and assistant coach and current Oregon State Director of Basketball Operations, Kurt Paulson, as the 27th head coach of the Carroll College Men's Basketball program.
"We are thrilled to have Kurt rejoin the Carroll family as our new men's basketball coach," Gross said. "When you look at the list of qualities that we wanted in a head coach; familiarity with our program, a strong coaching resume, experience in the NAIA, Montana and Northwest recruiting ties, a passion for the game and for leading young men on and off of the court, Kurt checks all of those boxes. He has the combination of skills, experience and energy to take the lead of this program and compete for titles."
"I want to thank Charlie Gross, President-Elect Cech, and the hiring committee for the opportunity to lead the Carroll College men's basketball program," Paulson said. "Carroll College is a special place with an amazing group of staff and student athletes. Being a proud alumnus, I couldn't be more excited to hit the court with these young men. We are going to put a team on the floor that the Carroll community will be proud of. Kari and I are excited to return home to Montana and we are thrilled to raise our kids in the Helena community."
Paulson knows what it takes to reach the highest levels of the NAIA, because he has been there. He was a starter on Gary Turcott's Carroll 2005 NAIA Semifinal team and the 2006 NAIA Quarterfinal team. After graduating from Carroll with a degree in Business Administration and Health and Physical Education, he then stepped into an assistant coach role on the 2006-07 and 07-08 teams that had a combined record of 43-16 and went to the 2008 NAIA Tournament.
Before the 09-10 season, he was hired as a graduate assistant under Wayne Tinkle at Montana where he was part of two teams that played in the postseason, making the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and the CBI in 2011.
He was hired as the head coach and Activities Director of Bigfork High School and led the Vikings to the Class B semifinals in 2013 before returning to the Montana staff as an assistant coach for the 2013-14 season.
He made the move to Oregon State with Tinkle in June of 2014 where he took the role as the Director of Basketball Operations.
"I would also like to thank coach Wayne Tinkle and the Oregon State program for the great experience in Corvallis. Working at OSU was an excellent opportunity and I would like to wish the Beavers the best of luck moving forward. Coach Tinkle is an amazing coach and leader and I will forever be grateful for the chance to learn from him not only on the court but in the way he leads his program."
"I'm very excited for Coach Paulson," Tinkle said. "This is his dream job. He has always had a gleam in his eye when he talks about Carroll. I'm thrilled for him and the program, he will do a great job. He is an enthusiastic and energetic leader, I know his players will love playing for him. He is a run through a brick wall kind of a coach. And after playing there, he will be able to sell his passion on the program."
Kurt's hire was made after screening over 70 applicants from around the country and internationally before a round of on-campus interviews.
"I am pleased with the thorough, exhaustive and expedited search that our committee went through to hire coach Paulson," Gross said. "We had an aggressive timeline and we are excited to come out of the process with a quality coach who knows what makes Carroll such a special place. He will instill that in the young men that he recruits and coaches and will bring in the type of student athletes that do the right things on and off of the court."
Paulson replaces Dr. Carson Cunningham who, last month was named the head coach at NCAA DI University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
"I'm looking forward to working with the returning team and building off of the success that they have had in the past few years," Paulson said. "I am also excited to recruit and develop talented players that will win the Carroll way."
Paulson is married to his wife Kari, a Missoula native, they have a son Kruz and are expecting another child in June.