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Brannen Named Head Coach at Cincinnati; NKU Launches National Search

Northern Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Brannen has accepted the head coach position at the University of Cincinnati.

Brannen replaces Mick Cronin, who accepted the head coach position at UCLA last week.

Brannen led NKU to two NCAA Tournament appearances and two Horizon League regular season and tournament titles. 

He has a record of 81-51 in four seasons at Highland Heights, including a 26-9 mark this year, a season that ended in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, when the Norse lost to eventual runner-up Texas Tech.

"It's truly an honor to take over such a storied program at the University of Cincinnati," Brannen said in a news release from the University of Cincinnati. "The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky community is special to my family and we are happy to remain at home. I want to thank President Pinto, (athletic director) Mike Bohn, and the search committee for this opportunity. We are thrilled to join a world-class University and continue to build on the historic success of Bearcats basketball and the incredible lineage of former coaches."

Brannen is a native of Alexandria and played high school basketball at Newport Central Catholic. He played NCAA Division I basketball at Morehead State and Marshall. Brannen arrived at Highland Heights after serving as an assistant at the University of Alabama.

NKU announced that a national search to replace Brannen would begin immediately.

“I, along with NKU and the Northern Kentucky Community, am extremely thankful of John’s accomplishments as our head men’s basketball coach the last four years,” said NKU athletic director Ken Bothof. “We wish John, Lisa, Jaylee, and Katelyn nothing but the best as John transitions to head coach at UC.”

“Coach Brannen has been a terrific ambassador for Northern Kentucky University during his four years as our head coach,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “We are grateful for what he has done to build the Norse men’s basketball brand into a premier program in the Horizon League and wish both John and his family well in this next endeavor. Norse men’s basketball is positioned to continue its remarkable success and showcase this great university.”

The Norse have gone 72-30 during the last three seasons, including a 40-14 mark in Horizon League play.

“During my tenure as athletic director at Northern Kentucky University, sustained support from the community has allowed us to invest in our men’s basketball program and will allow future enhancements,” said Bothof. “Those investments, both past and future, along with the unprecedented success our program has had the last three years, will help attract and hire a successful coach who continues to elevate our men’s basketball program.”

-Staff report

Photo: John Brannen (RCN file)