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John Brannen Fired by Cincinnati After Being Placed on Leave

Adam WellsApril 9, 2021

Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The University of Cincinnati has parted ways with men's head basketball coach John Brannen, the school announced Friday.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and College Hoops Today first reported that Cincinnati was expected to part ways with Brannen. Justin Williams of The Athletic confirmed the move. 

Brannen was placed on administrative leave by the school on April 3 pending an investigation after six players transferred last month. 

Matt Norlander of CBS Sports noted Brannen and Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham "haven't been on speaking terms for weeks" and a parting of ways was "an inevitability."

Per Justin Williams of The Athletic, the recent spate of transfers is "tied to a rift between those players and coach John Brannen."

Williams noted some of the rift between the players and Brannen was related to navigating the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There were also "personality clashes and the culture within the program" that "exacerbated the mental strain for some."

Within a three-day period last month, Mason Madsen, Tari Eason, Mike Saunders Jr., Gabe Madsen, Zach Harvey and Mamoudou Diarra all announced they had entered the transfer portal. 

Brannen was hired by the Bearcats in April 2019 after Mick Cronin left the program to become head coach at UCLA. The 47-year-old went 32-21 with Cincinnati over the past two seasons, winning an AAC regular-season title in 2019-20. 

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