HELENA — Carroll College basketball fans will get their first glimpse of new head Kurt Paulson when the Saints hit the court for the Purple and Gold Scrimmage on Friday. But before the team hits the hardwood MTN Sports’ Andy Curtis caught up with the new head man for an interview in his natural habitat, playing a game of H-O-R-S-E.
Paulson knows a thing or two about Saints basketball, starting for Carroll’s 2005 NAIA semifinal and 2006 quarterfinal teams before coming back as an assistant coach from 2006-2008. This time around, though, is a little different for the coach.
“Coach (Gary) Turcott obviously had a foundation with the program for years,” said Paulson. “There’s been a few coaches since his tenure and it has changed, and coach (Carson) Cunningham did an amazing job. I’m walking into a great situation, and the foundation is there with some quality student-athletes. So, just picking up where he left off and can’t wait to move the program forward and get to work with these young men.”
Those student-athletes were brought to Carroll by former head coach Dr. Carson Cunningham, who left behind a big shadow with three trips to the NAIA national tournament, two Frontier Conference regular-season titles and two Frontier Conference tournament titles. But it’s a challenge Paulson is embracing.
“(Cunningham) did a fantastic job, and I’ll have my own style. But he did a great job with the academics-first piece, and we’ll be building off of that, for sure, and then just recruiting quality guys who want to be here and want to play the right way,” Paulson said. “And so we’ll be moving the program forward and adding our own flavor to it.”
Paulson and the Saints will hit the court at 6 p.m. Friday at the Carroll College P.E. Center for the 2018 Purple and Gold Scrimmage.