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Carroll-Purdue 11-01-17

Saints coach Carson Cunningham has led the program to a Frontier Conference title. 

If a bachelor’s degree in basketball existed, what course would you teach? Why?

History of U.S. Olympic hoops. I've spent a good minute looking at this topic and it's chock-full of fascinating characters and includes some fun battles. Through Olympics hoops you can get into a lot of other stuff, too — the global sports business, social issues, international relations, and more.

What’s an item left on your basketball bucket list?

I have many. Discovering more about the game is one. Some day I'd get a kick out of seeing our five kids run a game a pick up — perhaps (my wife) Christy and I could come in off the bench.

Who is your biggest mentor?

Several. My late Grandpa, Jim "Popeye" Kirk, for one. When it comes to hoops, John Wooden, Gene Keady, and Brad Stevens are guys I've looked to draw from.

Which other coaches do you study?

Shaka Smart seems to have a great approach — Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, too.

What is the proudest moment as a coach?

That's hard to say. Working with the fellas is a joy. Any time you feel like you've impacted a student-athlete positively is sweet.

It's really fun when you see and feel and get to be a part of your squad fully engaged in a battle on the hardwood — ready, courageous, connected. It raises everyone up and can be drawn upon to help carry you through life.

What is your favorite basketball memory?

I have a lot of these, too. Battling through and winning big tourney games and road games as a player or coach is thrilling. Watching a team you coach make big plays and stretch its game is awesome. Growing up in Indiana and playing day after day with my buddies was a great way to spend summers. And, growing up, my parents let us have hoops all over the house — Nerf hoop in the bedroom, hoop in the basement, hoop in the garage, hoop on the side yard. It was fun. So there are a lot of fantastic hoops memories.

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