Former Rivals Coaching Together at Keene State
If you had told Tahrike Carter and Tyler Hundley a few years ago that they would be assistant coaches with the Keene State College men’s basketball team they would’ve thought you were crazy.
Just three years ago they were playing at rival schools in the highly competitive Little East Conference. Carter was a standout point guard at Rhode Island College while Hundley was a solid frontcourt player for Eastern Connecticut State University.
Hundley said, “Three years ago I would have looked at myself and said what are you doing? Why are you going up to Keene State?”
But Carter and Hundley have landed on the Keene State bench this season, serving as assistant for Ryan Cain, KSC’s first-year interim head coach.
So how did two LEC adversaries change allegiances? Timing, strong recommendations, and knowledge of the league.
Taking over the Keene State program in August, Cain got a late start putting together his staff. A former top player and assistant coach at WPI, Cain hit the phones, talking to coaches and contacts around the area to put together a list of candidates to fill his staff. “We took the process real slow so we could make sure we brought in the right people,” he said.
After countless conversations, research and meetings, Cain felt he had found two ideal assistants in Carter and Hundley. While Cain said their background in the league was important, it wasn’t the main reason he decided to bring them aboard. “The important thing to me was not necessarily that they came from schools in the league, but they came from winning programs,” said Cain, who led the Engineers to a combined nine NCAA appearances as a player and assistant coach. “We have three coaches that have played for teams that have been successful, winning conference championships and playing in the NCAA tournament. I don’t think you can have enough of those.”
A Brooklyn native who played football and tried his hand at martial arts and boxing before gravitating to basketball, Cater earned multiple honors playing for an Anchormen team that captured three tournament championships and made four trips to the NCAA tournament. He became just the second men’s basketball player in conference history to be named both the Little East Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year during his All-American senior season.
Hundley grew up in Davidson, N.C. He played scholastically at the private Cannon School, where he went up against NBA notable Seth Curry as well as former Duke stars Miles and Marshall Plumlee before concluding his career at Cheshire (CT) Academy. At ECSU, Hundley helped the Warriors claim the 2011-12 LEC title and the ECAC crown the following year.
Both players, who played against current KSC players Tre’ Tipton and Nate Howard, readily recall their fierce basketball battles against Keene State. “Keene State was our biggest rival,” said Carter. “We knew how talented they were yearend and year out so if you didn’t bring your A game, you definitely get run out of the gym.”
Hundley enjoyed his team’s trips to Spaulding Gym. “I always liked playing up here. It’s a good environment—probably the best in the conference with all the fans.”
Welcomed with open arms by the KSC players, the pair did get their share of good-natured ribbing. “I got destroyed by all my former teammates with non-stop talk that I’m a traitor,” said Carter. “But it’s all said in fun. They still support me.”
Down the road, Carter and Hundley, who previously served for a year as an assistant at Salve Regina (RI) University and Lasell (MA) College respectively, hope to become head coaches.
“The ultimate goal for me is to be a head coach, but I want to make sure I’m ready,” said Hundley. “I think we can do some special things here, so I’m in no rush to leave.”