In a coaching career that has spanned across Southern Minnesota, into Texas, and into the college ranks, Travis Carroll will get his first shot at becoming a head varsity basketball coach.
On Thursday, Marshall High School Activities Director Bruce Remme announced that Carroll, who was a graduate assistant coach for the Southwest Minnesota State men's basketball team in 2011-12, will become the next head boys' basketball coach for the Tigers.
Going through "a wealth" of applicants for the vacant coaching position, the diverse experience proved to be a deciding factor in Carroll becoming the new head coach.
"We're very confident in his coaching abilities," Remme said. "And the fact that he's worked at a number of good programs, we're fully confident in his ability to lead this program."
Carroll replaces Tom Critchley Jr., who left Marshall after eight seasons in early June to take the head girls' basketball position at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. In his eight seasons, Critchley went 151-71 with five Southwest Conference titles and a state berth in the 2010-11 season.
Along with the head boys' basketball coaching position, Carroll will teach physical education at the kindergarten level at Parkside Elementary School.
"I taught for eight-to-nine years coming into college this year, so I knew how good a school district Marshall has, so I was excited about being able to teach in the school district," Carroll said. "Also, with the basketball program, I feel they have a lot of positive things in the program. I'm just really excited to be able to work with (the team)."
A Fulda native, Carroll got his coaching start after finishing college at SMSU in 2002 as the junior varsity coach at Redwood Valley. He went on to coach ninth- and 10th-grade basketball at LeRoy-Ostrander before joining the staff at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas. At Marcus, the Marauders won the 2010-11 Texas Class 5A state championship.
Carroll briefly played college basketball for one season at Ridgewater College in Willmar before putting his focus on academics.
"Any place I've been, I've picked up positive things form the people I've worked with," Carroll said.
But what helped Carroll get into coaching was his father, Harvey, who was an assistant and head basketball coach at Fulda for 20-plus years.
"I had an opportunity to have a good role model in him," Travis Carroll said. "My dad did a wonderful job of working with kids and treating kids well. He was a great first role model to have and led me down the path I went down."
Looking to get closer to home, Carroll touched base with SMSU head men's basketball coach Brad Bigler, who has been a friend for nearly 15 years. As a graduate assistant on the Mustangs' staff, Bigler was quick to credit Carroll's experience at that position helping bring a boost to his team. SMSU went on to have one of its most successful seasons in school history, going 19-11 overall, taking second place in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, winning the conference tournament for the first time in school history and qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the third time.
One of the things Carroll's hoping to bring from his Mustangs experience is a strong emphasis on the defensive end setting the tone for transition baskets.
"At the college, Coach Bigler did a great job in emphasizing the little things," Carroll said. "Like taking the charge. I can't tell you how many times we worked on that in practice and how much it paid off in games later in the year.
"And cheering on the kids when they're coming in for timeouts. You have to take those little things and run with them."
Along with coaching in the Southwest Conference at Redwood Valley, Carroll got a better idea of how the Southwest Conference stacks up on the SMSU recruiting trail.
"When we were recruiting Mitch (Weg of Worthington), I had a chance to see Worthington play quite a bit and watch Marshall kids play quite a bit, too," Carroll said.
"Another thing that helps is the summer AAU programs. I had a chance to see some of the Marshall kids play at the time, as well as the other area kids."
Remme added, "Through the programs at SMSU, he's had the opportunity to watch this program and work with the kids coming through the program. He has a good knowledge of what's there already. That'll certainly be to his benefit once the winter season rolls around."
Nearly 10 years after getting into the coaching ranks, Carroll is ready for his first shot.
"I've had a lot of great experiences leading up to it," Carroll said, "and I'm definitely ready for it."
Said Bigler, "Travis is ready for this opportunity. I know he's very excited for it. He's fully aware of the competition of that conference from his time in Redwood, and he has a lot of respect for that conference. It's a great opportunity."