Former UC men’s basketball coach John Brannen files lawsuit against the school, AD, university president

CINCINNATI – Former University of Cincinnati basketball coach John Brannen filed a lawsuit against the school, UC athletics director John Cunningham and university president Neville Pinto.

Brannen, who coached Northern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball program for two Horizon League titles, was hired to coach the Bearcats in 2019.

According to court records, Brannen’s attorneys allege his suspension and termination were the result of a “bogus” investigation, and the university did so to trigger a contractual buyout that cost the school millions of dollars.

The lawsuit alleged that Cunningham had a law firm closely affiliated with the university develop reasons to fire Brannen “for an important reason,” saving the university more than $ 5 million.

According to the records, Brannen’s contract lacked a language that would have paid him his potential buyout compensation in monthly installments, and the remainder of the contractually owed money would have been owed to him no later than 60 days after his termination.

The lawsuit accuses Cunningham of ignoring Brannen’s contractual rights and uses the reprimand issued on a practice dated October 6, 2020 to dismiss him on “just cause” as set out in his resignation letter.

Brannen is looking for a way to clarify names, including the ability to interview and hear testimony from Cunningham and other witnesses.

He also seeks damages and punitive damages, as determined in the proceedings.

WCPO reached out to UC for a comment on Friday night and will update this story.

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