Just over two weeks after a rash of transfers from Cincinnati’s men’s basketball team sparked an internal investigation, John Brannen has been relieved of his duties as coach. The move comes after the university placed Brannen on paid administrative leave on Saturday.
Brannen just completed his second season as the head coach of the program, after former coach Mike Cronin left for the head coach position at UCLA. Cronin had the Bruins in the Final Four last weekend.
Brannen got off to a strong start, with a 20-10 record last season and likely NCAA Tournament berth, had the tournament not been cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also resulted in the landing of four-star forward Tari Eason. But this season, the Bearcats struggled, with opt-outs, a month-long pause due to positive coronavirus tests, then allegations towards Brannen.
Those allegations led to an independent internal investigation sought by the university. And though the legal battle likely isn’t over between Brannen and the university, he will no longer be the program’s head coach.
Brannen was hired on April 14, 2019 by former athletic director Mike Bohn, who eight months later departed for the same position at Southern California.
This will be the first major hire for Bohn’s successor, John Cunningham.
Brannen finished his two-year stint at 32-20, including 12-11 this season. Cincinnati was the runner-up in the American Athletic Conference Tournament this season.