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Cincinnati fires John Brannen following investigation

Syndication: The Enquirer

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach John Brannen instructs the team during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA men’s basketball game against the Vanderbilt Commodores, Thursday, March 4, 2021, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati. Vanderbilt At Cincinnati Basketball March 4

Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati has fired men’s basketball coach John Brannen following an investigation into reports of a rift with Bearcats players.

The school fired Brannen six days after he was put on paid leave after six Cincinnati players decided to transfer last month. Tim Morris will serve as interim coach until a replacement is hired.

“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,” Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham said in a statement. “Ultimately, the University is acting in the best interests of our student-athletes and of the institution, and this decision is reflective of our commitment to both, as well as to our values that we hold dear.”

Brannen was hired from Northern Kentucky in 2019 and seven players he recruited have since left the program. Four players who left this year were members of the 2020 freshman class who entered the transfer portal during a week in March.

The Bearcats went 20-10 before last season was canceled due to the pandemic. They missed the NCAA Tournament this year after going 12-11.