HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY (FOX19) - Northern Kentucky University and head men's basketball coach John Brannen have agreed on a new four-year contract, Director of Athletics Ken Bothof announced Thursday.
"I am thrilled and honored to be the Head Coach at Northern Kentucky University and represent the Northern Kentucky community," said Brannen. "I would like to thank Ken Bothof, Geoff Mearns and Gerry St. Amand for their vision and belief in our men's basketball program. It has been our goal from day one to build a championship-caliber program comprised of first-class people on the court, in the classroom and in the community. My family and I look forward to continuing that process in our hometown."
The contract will keep the Alexandria, Kentucky, native at the helm of the program through the 2020-21 season.
"John and I began discussions prior to the conclusion of the regular season," said Bothof. "John has certainly proven that he possesses the attributes we desire in a head coach – integrity, care for his student-athletes, the ability to engage with both the campus and local communities, and the gift to build a championship-caliber program. We are excited to reach an agreement to keep John as our head coach for the next four years and to continue building Norse men's basketball into a championship program that shares equal amounts of success on and off the court."
In his second year as head coach, Brannen led Northern Kentucky to the 2017 Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship and earned the league's subsequent automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Championship. This was also the first season the team was eligible for postseason competition following a four-year reclassification period.
In the process, NKU became just the seventh team ever and only the second since 1970 to reach the NCAA tourney in its first season eligible.
"The exposure the university received during this past season is certainly a reflection of the job John is accomplishing with his entire team," says Gerry St. Amand, Interim President of Northern Kentucky University. "John's leadership with his student-athletes, his demeanor on the court, and the way he interacted with the national sports media over the past season highlighted the kind of leader he is. It's exciting to know that he will continue to guide our student-athletes and be a bright spot for our university and the Northern Kentucky region."
The Norse surpassed the preseason prognostications on their way to a 24-11 record, including 12-6 Horizon League mark that resulted in a share of third-place.