Former Evart, Big Rapids girls basketball standout returns as Wildcat head coach

Carrie (Isanhart) Kunkle played for state runner-up, semifinalist teams

Carrie Kunkle



File photo

EVART – Carrie (Isanhart) Kunkle has returned to be the head varsity girls basketball coach of a team she led to within one win of a state championship 36 years ago.

Kunkle was named the Evart girls basketball coach earlier this year after Matt Tiedt stepped down from the position shortly after the season. She worked with the players during the summer.

“We had a week-long summer camp we did for kindergarten through eighth grade,” Kunkle said. “It was coed. We also had a ninth grade through 12th grade girls camp. My girls varsity were in Morey Courts travel league.”

The last three years, Kunkle had been coaching the eighth-grade girls basketball team.

Kunkle has several top players returning next year including all-conference senior Addy Gray.

Kunkle had been at Cadillac four years before returning to Evart two seasons where she is teaching science.

The Evart native played three seasons of basketball at Evart including the fall of 1986 when she was a sophomore and the Wildcats were Class C state runners-up under coach Mark Parsons.

Evart had cut sports for the 1988-89 season and Kunkle transferred to Big Rapids where she played for the Cardinals and coach Terry Wright during the fall of 1988. BR lost in the state semifinals to Flint Beecher in double overtime. Others on the team included Jodi Raab, Stacey Bechaz, Majenica Rupe and Christy Buss.

Kunkle was then a four-year starter at Central Michigan University and was on the freshman All-Mid American Conference team and was second team all-MAC for another year.

“I played a one and a two, point guard and shooting guard,” Kunkle said. “We finished second my sophomore year (in the MAC).”

Kunkle has been teaching 29 years and was a coach for 25 seasons.

“I’ve coached everything from seventh to 12th grade girls basketball, varsity and JV and I’ve also coached JV boys basketball and then varsity track,” she said. “This past year at Evart, I was a junior high track coach for the boys.”

As an athlete she was a state long jumping champion 1989 at Big Rapids.

Kunkle has taught in five school districts including St. Clair Shores, Evart (twice), Belding and Cadillac.

“I wanted to end my career in my home district,” she said. “I wanted to be able to give back to the community in terms of sports and teaching.”