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NKU Extends Brannen's Contract Through 2021

John Brannen is sticking around as head coach of the Northern Kentucky University men's basketball team.

The university announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with Brannen for a new 4-year contract through the 2020-21 season. This past season, Brannen led the Norse to a 24-11 record, far exceeding pre-season expectations and winning the Horizon League tournament, earning NKU its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in its first year eligible as a division-one program.

“John and I began discussions prior to the conclusion of the regular season,” said NKU athletic director Ken Bothof, in a news release. “John has certainly proven that he possesses the attributes we desire in a head coach – integrity, care for his student-athletes, the ability to engage with both the campus and local communities, and the gift to build a championship-caliber program. We are excited to reach an agreement to keep John as our head coach for the next four years and to continue building Norse men’s basketball into a championship program that shares equal amounts of success on and off the court.”

“I am thrilled and honored to be the Head Coach at Northern Kentucky University and represent the Northern Kentucky community,” said Brannen, an Alexandria native who took over at NKU two seasons ago after serving as an assistant at Alabama. “I would like to thank Ken Bothof, (former president )Geoff Mearns and (interim president) Gerry St. Amand for their vision and belief in our men’s basketball program. It has been our goal from day one to build a championship-caliber program comprised of first-class people on the court, in the classroom and in the community. My family and I look forward to continuing that process in our hometown.”

“The exposure the university received during this past season is certainly a reflection of the job John is accomplishing with his entire team,” said Gerry St. Amand, who is serving as NKU's interim president while the search for Mearns's permanent replacement continues. “John’s leadership with his student-athletes, his demeanor on the court, and the way he interacted with the national sports media over the past season highlighted the kind of leader he is. It’s exciting to know that he will continue to guide our student-athletes and be a bright spot for our university and the Northern Kentucky region.”

In 2017, NKU became just the seventh team ever and only the second since 1970 to reach the NCAA tournament in its first season eligible.

-Staff report

Photo: John Brannen after NKU won the Horizon League tournament (RCN file)