Carlito Labarda Jr. Named EOU Men’s Basketball Coach

Carlito Labarda Jr. was tabbed as the next EOU men’s basketball head coach, director of athletics Anji Weissenfluh announced Thursday afternoon.

Labarda Jr. becomes the 16th head coach in program history.

“I am excited to announce the hiring of Carlito Labarda Jr. as our next head men’s basketball coach,” stated Weissenfluh. “Carlito comes to us after a long and successful stint as an assistant coach under Dr. Carson Cunningham at Carroll College. Carlito has helped established a tradition of excellence at Carroll and knows how to win and shares the core values that we see as important within our department. He brings an ability to recruit quality student-athletes that are able to excel both in the classroom and on the court. We are thrilled for Carlito to arrive at EOU so he can begin to immerse himself in the campus as well as in the community.”

Labarda Jr. arrives at EOU after spending the four previous seasons as the main assistant under head coach Dr. Carson Cunningham’s staff at Carroll College.  Since first setting foot with the Saints in 2013, Labarda Jr. has helped guide the Saints to a 79-45 record over a four-year span and are coming off consecutive NAIA Division I quarterfinal appearances.  The 2016-17 campaign was one of the most successful ones in Carroll history. The Saints ran through the Frontier Conference capturing the regular-season and conference tournament titles, en route to earning the top seed at the NAIA Division I Tournament. Carroll eventually fell to the national runner-up Life University (Ga.), but its 29-5 mark was second only to the 2005-06 Saints that finished 30-4.

“I am very excited to join a special group of coaches at Eastern Oregon University, my visit to La Grande was an awesome experience,” said Labarda Jr. “From interacting with the community, to the student-athletes on campus, it’s a place where I want to be and can’t wait to get started! The amazing family culture established in the athletic department will make it a smooth transition for me as a coach, which I don’t take for granted. I’m truly blessed to be a Mountaineer.”

Labarda Jr. began his coaching journey at Purdue University where he was the team’s manager and the student assistant coach from 1994-99. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Coach Gene Keady and assistant Bruce Weber – current head coach at Kansas St. – the Boilermakers garnered two Big 10 trophies, multiple NCAA tournament trips along with two ‘Sweet 16’ appearances.   During this time, Labarda Jr. became good friends with coach Dr. Carson Cunningham, who was a stand-out player and starter, after transferring to Purdue from Oregon State.

“I’m thrilled about Coach Labarda being named the next head basketball coach of the Eastern Oregon University Mountaineers,” said Cunningham. “Carlito is a lifelong friend, tireless worker, and passionate basketball coach. The players, the college, and the community really embraced and enjoyed him. It’s a little bittersweet since Coach Labarda won’t be with us at Carroll next year. But mainly it’s just sweet to know that, after all his hard work and years of dedication to the game, Coach Labarda is getting a chance to become a head college basketball coach.”

After Purdue, Labarda Jr. made multiple stops coaching at the high school level, beginning with Lakes High School in Tacoma, Wash., from 2001-03. He then moved down the coast to Long Beach, Calif., to become the head coach of Saint Anthony’s High school for two years (2003-05).

Following his two-year stint at Saint Anthonys, Labarda Jr. stayed in the Golden State and coached junior college ball at El Camino College (2007-09) in the city of Torrance, and Los Angeles Harbor (2010-12).

The EOU Mountaineers capped the season with a record of 24-9 and made it to the second round of the NAIA Division II Tournament.

A native of San Pedro, Calif., Labarda Jr. is a Purdue graduate with a degree in history.

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