N.D. CLASS B BOYS BASKETBALL: Successful change of plans for Linton-HMB
Dan Carr wasn't into coaching for the long haul. It was going to be a brief stop before he entered the business world. "I figured I'd coach for three years, then go get a job where I could make some real money," Carr said. That was 33 years ago. ...
Dan Carr wasn't into coaching for the long haul. It was going to be a brief stop before he entered the business world.
"I figured I'd coach for three years, then go get a job where I could make some real money," Carr said.
That was 33 years ago. And, instead of making his fortune in the business world, Carr has made his mark in the world of North Dakota Class B high school basketball. When the Class B boys state basketball tournament begins today at the Alerus Center, Carr again will be on the sideline, coaching his Linton-HMB team.
This is the 10th state appearance in the 59-year-old's 30 seasons at Linton.
Instead of leaving the coaching ranks after his first three seasons at Belgrade, Minn., "I got here and really liked it," Carr said. "I like to fish and hunt -- this is God's country for that. And we had some success right away; you enjoy coaching a little more when you have success."
Success? That's an understatement.
His 10 state appearances include championships in 1984, 1985 and 2003. Linton-HMB brings a 17-7 record to Grand Forks, giving Carr 624 career wins -- the most among active coaches in the state by a wide margin.
His teams have been a model of consistency: Linton teams have never had a losing record under Carr.
That success has been with a team-first style. Carr has never had a player average 20 points in a season until this winter, when senior Tanner Purintun has put together a 21.4 scoring average.
"We always stressed balance," Carr said. "We always had more than one scorer. It would be three, four, five guys in double figures. But Tanner is such an outstanding player -- he can create things for himself off the dribble and he's a good 3-point shooter."
So Carr adapted to take advantage of Purintun's scoring skills. And that ability to adapt to the talents of his players and the style of the day is one reason Carr's teams have been so consistent.
Take the 3-point shot -- Carr was more than happy to have other teams take the treys when they came into the high school ranks. He wasn't a fan.
"They had to take me forward kicking and screaming," Carr said. "I hated the 3-point shot when it came in. I liked playing zone defenses and packing it inside. But in one of the first games we played with the 3-point shot, a kid hit nine threes against us. We didn't have much choice but to adapt."
And, in 1985, Linton won the B state championship in overtime. It was a 3-pointer by Bobby Petrick by Linton that tied the score and forced the overtime. "After that, I thought the 3-pointer was OK," he said.
Carr has adapted in other ways as the game has evolved.
"We've been fortunate in that we've had some good athletes come through who have worked hard," Carr said. "That's been the key. And we've changed with the times. When I started, we (coaches) didn't let the kids be athletes. Everything was controlled by the coaches. You'd walk the ball upcourt and you'd play five kids because they never got tired.
"The game is more wide open now. We let the kids use their athleticism. The 3-point shot opened things up. I think I've changed with the times. And I think the style today is better. The kids get more opportunities to be ballplayers."
Carr said someday he'll appreciate the fact that he's accumulated so many victories. For now, however, he calls it no big deal. He's too busy coaching for the now to worry about the past -- which also included that three-year plan.
"I've done some business things, so I suppose I've fulfilled that need," Carr said. "I've just enjoyed coaching a lot.
"I guess we extended the plan."
DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to email@example.com .