Cincinnati tabs Brannen as coach

Cincinnati has hired Northern Kentucky’s John Brannen as its new head coach, the school announced Sunday.

Brannen replaces Mick Cronin, who recently left to take over UCLA’s program.

Brannen, 45, guided Northern Kentucky to a 26-9 record this season and went 81-51 over four seasons. The Norse reached two NCAA Tournaments, including this season when they fell to eventual national runner-up Texas Tech in the first round.

Cincinnati will formally introduce Brannen in a press conference on Monday.

“He has a proven record as a head coach, longtime ties to the local community and coaches an exciting style of basketball,” Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn said in a statement. “We were impressed with his passion, drive, determination and basketball acumen during the interview process where he truly emerged as the best coach to lead the Cincinnati basketball program with a bright future.”

Northern Kentucky’s campus — located in Highland Heights, Ky., — is just nine miles away from the Cincinnati campus.

“It’s truly an honor to take over such a storied program at the University of Cincinnati,” Brannen said in a statement. “The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky community is special to my family and we are happy to remain at home. …

“We are thrilled to join a world-class university and continue to build on the historic success of Bearcats basketball and the incredible lineage of former coaches.”

Cronin went 296-147 in 13 seasons with the Bearcats and reached the NCAA Tournament after each of the past nine seasons.