John Brannen

John Brannen is the next men's basketball coach at the University of Cincinnati.

The University of Cincinnati hired Northern Kentucky University's John Brannen to replace Mick Cronin as its head men's basketball coach Sunday, as first reported by Jeff Goodman of Stadium and Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

Cronin announced his decision to leave UC for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Tuesday afternoon.

UC will have to buyout Brannen's contract from NKU, as he agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Norse on June 29, 2018.

“We are thrilled to welcome John, his wife Lisa and their daughters, Jaylee and Katelyn, to the Bearcats family,” UC Director of Athletics Mike Bohn said in a statement. “He has a proven record as a head coach, longtime ties to the local community and coaches an exciting style of basketball. We were impressed with his passion, drive, determination and basketball acumen during the interview process where he truly emerged as the best coach to lead the Cincinnati basketball program with a bright future.”

Brannen had been at NKU since 2015-16 and amassed a 81-51 record. He was named the Horizon League Coach of the Year in 2017.

“It's truly an honor to take over such a storied program at the University of Cincinnati,” Brannen said in the statement. “The Cincinnati-northern Kentucky community is special to my family and we are happy to remain at home. I want to thank President Pinto, 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.”

Under Brannen, the Norse were Horizon League Tournament champions in 2017 and 2019 and regular season champions in 2018 and 2019.

Before NKU, he had assistant coaching gigs at the University of Charleston, Eastern Kentucky University, St. Bonaventure University, Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Alabama.

Brannen grew up in Alexandria, Kentucky and was a basketball standout at Newport Central Catholic High School before playing collegiately at Morehead State University and Marshall University.