New Cath Star, Alabama Assistant is Next Head Coach at Northern Kentucky
John Brannen is returning to Northern Kentucky, a region he dominated as a standout basketball star for Newport Central Catholic in the 1990's.
The University of Alabama assistant was named Monday as the new head coach of the Northern Kentucky University men's basketball team, replacing Dave Bezold who was fired last month after 11 seasons.
A news conference and celebration for the media and the public will be held Tuesday at the Bank of Kentucky Center in Highland Heights at 3 p.m.
"I am humbled and honored to be the next men's basketball coach at Northern Kentucky University," said Brannen, in a news release. "I want to thank President (Geoffrey)) Mearns, (athletic director) Ken Bothof and the rest of the committee for their belief in me and giving me this opportunity to be a head coach. NKU holds a special place in my heart and my wife Lisa, daughters Katelyn and Jaylee and I are thrilled to be back home.
"Our program promises to bring great pride to the NKU community and we will strive for success on and off the court," continued Brannen. "Our goal is to compete for Atlantic Sun Championships while ensuring our players graduate and represent NKU in a first-class manner. I can't wait to start working and return home to embark on my head coaching career."
"I would like to welcome John [Brannen], his wife Lisa and daughters Katelyn and Jaylee back home to Northern Kentucky," said Bothof. "John brings successful experience at all levels of collegiate basketball, and I am excited about the future of the Norse men's basketball program under his leadership."
Brannen comes to NKU following a six-year stint at Alabama, which included time as the associate head coach and, most recently, interim head coach. During his tenure as interim head coach, Brannen guided the Crimson Tide to a first-round victory in the 2015 NIT before falling to eventual runner-up Miami. It was reported last week that Brannen was a finalist for the head coaching job at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Alabama recorded three 20-win seasons during Brennan's tenure with the program, including 23-13 in the 2012-13 campaign, 21-12 in 2011-12 and 25-12 in 2010-11.
Brannen is a member of the Villa 7 consortium, which brings together the country's elite assistant basketball coaches to build the next generation of great basketball leaders.
Prior to his time at Alabama, Brannen spent three years on the staff of Anthony Grant at Virginia Commonwealth. His reputation as a recruiter was enhanced by a 2007 class that ranked in the top-20 nationally. Brannen then helped land back-to-back classes that were ranked among the nation's best mid-major recruiting classes by Rivals.com in 2008 (third) and 2009 (fifth).
Brannen's resume also includes stops as an assistant coach at St. Bonaventure, Eastern Kentucky, and the College of Charleston.
Brannen is a 1997 graduate of Marshall, where he scored 1,008 points in two seasons for the Thundering Herd, and earned a degree in business management. Brannen is married to the former Lisa Elswick. They are parents of twin daughters Jaylee and Katelyn.
Photo: John Brannen (via University of Alabama)