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NKY Native, New Cath Star a Finalist for D-I Head Coach Job

Northern Kentucky native and Newport Central Catholic graduate John Brannen is one of two finalists for the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville men's basketball head coaching job.

Brannen, a six-year assistant coach at Alabama, was made interim head coach for the National Invitation Tournament this season after Anthony Grant was fired following the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide beat third-seeded Illinois in the first round of the NIT before losing at Miami in the second. He was also part of Grant's staff at Virginia Commonwealth University and spent three seasons as the recruiting coordinator at St. Bonaventure.

Because of his local ties, Brannen also remains a possibility to fill the head coaching job at Northern Kentucky University that was vacated when Dave Bezold was let go. Bezold had a record of 194-133 in his 11 seasons with the Norse.

Brannen will be on the SIU-Edwardsville campus on Monday and Tuesday. The other finalist for the Cougars top coaching job is Jon Harris, who has been an assistant for California coach Cuonzo Martin for eight seasons.Harris has been with Martin at Missouri State, Tennessee and California. Harris played high-school basketball at Edwardsville High School.    

After a standout career for Newport Central Catholic and Marshall University (where he led the Southern Conference in scoring in his senior season, 20.9 points per game in1996-97), Brannen was a Rhodes Scholar finalist and received postgraduate scholarships from both the NCAA and the Southern Conference. He played two professional seasons in Belgium where he was an all-star. 

Brannen is married to his wife, Lisa. They have twin daughters, Jaylee and Katelyn, according to a bio produced by the University of Alabama.

-Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo: John Brannen (via RollTide.com)