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K. Paulson

Kurt Paulson oversees an Oregon State practice in October 2016. Paulson was named the new coach at Carroll College on Thursday. 

Kurt Paulson is returning to his alma mater to become a first-time collegiate head coach.

An Oregon State men’s basketball director of operations the past four seasons, Paulson was introduced Thursday as the new men’s basketball coach at Carroll College, in Helena, Montana.

"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,” Paulson said in a release. “We are going to put a team on the floor that the Carroll community will be proud of. Kari (Paulson’s wife) and I are excited to return home to Montana and we are thrilled to raise our kids in the Helena community."

Paulson, 35, has been at OSU since Wayne Tinkle took over the program in 2014.

He was an assistant at Carroll for two seasons (2007-09) before serving as a graduate assistant under Tinkle at Montana for the next two. Paulson was then head coach at Bigfork High School for two seasons and an assistant at Montana for one before coming to Corvallis.

As a player, Paulson was a starting guard on Carroll teams that made deep runs in the NAIA national tournament in 2005 and 2006.

Paulson takes over a program that went 28-6 this past season while reaching the second round of the NAIA national tournament.

Paulson replaces former Oregon State basketball player Carson Cunningham, now the head coach at Incarnate Word, a Division I program in Texas.

Cunningham was Carroll’s coach for five seasons. The Fighting Saints won two games the season before he arrived. They went 9-19 in Cunningham’s first year and were 107-52 overall in his five seasons, including 80-24 the past three.

Paulson’s father, Kent Paulson, is commissioner of the Frontier Conference, of which Carroll is a member.

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