University of Cincinnati suspends men's basketball coach John Brannen

Keith Jenkins, Cincinnati Enquirer
·2 min read

The University of Cincinnati is suspending men's basketball coach John Brannen effective immediately.

Cincinnati Director of Athletics John Cunningham announced Saturday that Brannen has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of a university review into the program.

There is no timeline for UC's review.

Brannen, who is 32-21 since being hired at Cincinnati in April 2019, did not return requests for comment from The Enquirer.

The suspension comes eight days after Cunningham announced the university would review allegations related to Brannen and the men's basketball program.

More: University of Cincinnati will 'review' allegations made against men's basketball program

"The University has always put the welfare of its student-athletes first," Cunningham said in a statement on March 26. "We feel this is an essential step to ensure that all of our athletic programs meet the highest standards."

The statement did not mention any specific allegations, only that the university would be working with independent fact-finders to conduct a review.

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach John Brannen walks back to the bench in the second half of a men's NCAA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati. The Memphis Tigers won, 80-74.
Cincinnati Bearcats head coach John Brannen walks back to the bench in the second half of a men's NCAA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati. The Memphis Tigers won, 80-74.

Six Cincinnati players entered the transfer portal over a three-day span following the Bearcats' 91-54 season-ending loss to Houston on March 14 in the American Athletic Conference tournament championship game. The defeat was UC's second lopsided loss to the Cougars in three weeks. The Bearcats lost 90-52 at Houston on Feb. 21. The loss in the AAC tournament final kept Cincinnati out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.

Unnamed players gave The Athletic their unattributed takes on the second-year Cincinnati coach.

The players suggested Brannen was apathetic to the challenges they faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that he dispensed playing time unwisely and that they had lost all trust in him.

Cincinnati started 3-7 this season before COVID-19 issues forced the team away from the court for 25 days. The Bearcats rallied to a 9-4 finish.

Cincinnati hired Brannen to replace Mick Cronin, who took over the UCLA men's basketball program in April 2019 after 13 seasons at UC. Cronin led UCLA to the Final Four this season.

Brannen spent the previous four seasons at Northern Kentucky University. He went 81-51 and won two regular-season conference titles, two conference tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament twice during that span.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati basketball suspends coach John Brannen