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Brannen Completes Coaching Staff Hires at NKU

Northern Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Brannen has completed his staff, adding David Ragland, Ronald Nored and Sean Dwyer as assistant coaches and former NKU standout Tony Rack as director of operations.

“I am very excited about the staff we have assembled, and I belive these hires speak to the excitement level surrounding our athletics programs here at NKU,” said Brannen. “Our focus during this search was to find intelligent and highly motivated coaches who want to be a part of the Northern Kentucky community. We are excited about getting started.”

Most recently an assistant coach at Bowling Green, Ragland also spent four years as an assistant coach at Indiana State, two years as head coach at Vincennes University and three years as the assistant coach at Vincennes. In all five seasons at the Division I level, Ragland’s teams have reached the postseason. This year’s Bowling Green team earned a berth in the Postseason Tournament (CIT). In his four seasons working with the Sycamores, Indiana State made appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2011), NIT (2013, 2014) and CIT (2012).

“Coach Ragland brings a wealth of experience at the Division I level, as well as an understanding of the region from a recruiting and coaching perspective,” Brannen commented. “Our young men will feed off his energy and passion every day.”

“I want to thank John Brannen, Ken Bothof and the NKU administration for the opportunity to be a part of the Norse family,” commented Ragland. “The core values and progressive and energetic mindset of the leadership here at NKU is extremely exciting for the future of our programs."

“John’s belief in creating a family environment, trust within the program and focus on skill development for our players will enforce the fact that NKU men’s basketball will soon become special,” Ragland continued. “I look forward to the process of creating a championship caliber program with Coach Brannen, our staff, players, University and community. Norse up!”

Nored comes to Northern Kentucky following a two-year stint with the Boston Celtics of the NBA, where he served as a player development assistant coach under current Celtics head coach and former Butler head coach Brad Stevens. A championship pedigree, which was forged during back-to-back appearances in the men’s basketball NCAA Division I national championship game while a player for Stevens at Butler, follows Nored to Highland Heights. Nored and the Bulldogs lost to Duke in the 2010 title game and then fell to UConn in the 2011 championship. On the bench in Boston, he was vital to the success of the 2014-15 Celtics team, which reached the NBA East Division playoffs.

“Coach Nored has achieved tremendous success as a player and a coach during his career. His energy and knowledge will be a tremendous asset to the young men of NKU basketball, as well as our staff as a whole," said Brannen.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that Coach Brannen has given me,” commented Nored. “Being back in college basketball was a goal of mine. I couldn’t be happier to join Coach Brannen and Norse Nation.”

After spending the last four seasons on the same staff at Alabama as Brannen, Dwyer comes to Northern Kentucky to join Brannen’s staff at NKU. Dwyer devoted the first two seasons with the Crimson Tide as the video coordinator before serving as a special assistant to the head coach in his final two campaigns in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He served four years as a student manager at his alma mater Michigan State, where he was a part of the Spartans' 2009 run to the national championship game and four-straight NCAA appearances and worked with Billy Donovan at Florida for one season as video coordinator.

“Coach Dwyer is a relentless worker with a great knowledge of the game and the ability to connect with people,” described Brannen. “He will provide an understanding of our system to our players and staff.”

“I am excited to continue to work alongside Coach Brannen – a man who I have learned a great deal from and whom I truly believe in,” commented Dwyer. “With the players, facilities and academic community in place, our talented staff has all of the necessary resources to propel NKU Norse basketball into the future.”

Norse Nation also welcomes home a familiar face in Rack, who played for the Norse from 2008-12. He graduated from NKU as one of the program’s most-prolific shooters, ranking third all-time in 3-point field goal percentage (.443) and ninth in threes made (160). Rack worked the last three seasons with the Winthrop men's basketball program. After starting as a graduate assistant, the final two years in Rock Hill, South Carolina, were spent as the team's director of operations.

“Tony is a great example to our young men of the success you can achieve by being a student-athlete here at NKU,” Brannen explained. “His determination and energy rubs off on everyone that he comes in contact with.”

"I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be back home at Northern Kentucky University,” said Rack. “I am thankful for Coach Brannen and the University for this tremendous opportunity and for welcoming me back into the family. The people are what make this place special and I am truly blessed to be a part of it again. Together, we are going to take NKU to new heights. Norse up!”

Staff report/Photo: Head Coach John Brannen (NKU Athletics)