John Brannen, Cincinnati Agree to $2.75M Settlement Over Coach's Firing

Adam WellsSeptember 9, 2022

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 13: Cincinnati Bearcats head coach John Brannen reacts during the game against the Memphis Tigers and the Cincinnati Bearcats on February 13th, 2020 at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former University of Cincinnati basketball coach John Brannen has agreed to a settlement with the school over his firing in April 2021.

Per The Athletic's Justin Williams, public records revealed the school agreed to pay Brannen $2.75 million as part of a settlement signed by both parties on Wednesday.

Cincinnati fired Brannen on April 9, 2021, one week after he was placed on administrative leave.

"The decision to move in a new direction comes after a thorough review of our program, which included conversations with student-athletes, coaches and staff, as well as with Coach Brannen," athletic director John Cunningham said in the statement announcing the decision.

Brannen's dismissal came after the school opened an investigation into allegations about the men's basketball team.

In a March 2021 report from Williams, the team "experienced a mass roster exodus" with six players entering the transfer portal following a "rift" with Brannen.

Williams noted at the time that seven players recruited by Brannen following his hiring in April 2019 had left the program, with four of the team's five high-school signees from the 2020 recruiting class leaving after less than one year with the Bearcats.

Brannen originally filed a lawsuit against the university in May 2021, but he withdrew the lawsuit and refiled it in state court five months later. The 48-year-old was seeking more than $5 million in buyout money, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

According to Williams, Brannen was fired with cause by Cincinnati. He would have been owed $5.25 million for being fired without cause, per the terms of his contract.

Brannen went 32-20 in two seasons at Cincinnati. Dayton head basketball coach Anthony Grant announced earlier this week Brannen will join the program as an analyst and senior special assistant.

Wes Miller was hired as Cincinnati's new head coach in April 2021. He went 18-15 in his first season with the program.