Cincinnati Coach John Brannen Agrees to Six-Year Contract: Salary, Buyout, Incentives

Former Northern Kentucky Coach John Brannen is the rare Division I head coach who can take a job with a new school and live in the same house if he wants. Brannen replaced Mick Cronin at Cincinnati, whose campus is roughly seven miles from that of Northern Kentucky.

Brannen agreed to a six-year contract with Cincinnati, according to a signed memorandum of understanding obtained by Stadium via public records request.

His annual compensation will be $1.5 million, which includes a base salary of $250,000, as part of a six-year deal worth $9 million, not including potential incentives.

Cincinnati also agreed to pay $500,000 to Northern Kentucky for Brannen’s buyout.

His assistant coach salary pool is $750,000 annually and his total staff pool, which includes his assistant coach salary pool and also a director of basketball operations and video coordinator, is $1.15 million.

If Brannen is still at Cincinnati on March 31, 2022, then he’ll receive a retention bonus of $1 million.

Brannen will also receive an annual golf club membership for business use, as well as an annual business entertainment allowance of $10,000.

A bonus of one month’s salary will be paid to specified employees on Brannen’s staff if Cincinnati makes the NCAA Tournament or wins the American Athletic Conference regular season championship. If the Bearcats make the Sweet 16, those employees will receive a bonus equal to two months’ salary.

Brannen will have the opportunity to earn performance-based incentives, which are outlined below. The NCAA Tournament and regular season win total incentives are non-cumulative.

  • $50,000 – NCAA Tournament appearance.
  • $150,000 – Sweet 16 appearance.
  • $250,000 – Elite Eight appearance.
  • $300,000 – Final Four appearance.
  • $400,000 – Win the national championship.
  • $10,000 – Cincinnati reaches 21 regular season wins.
  • $20,000 – Cincinnati reaches 23 regular season wins.
  • $30,000 – Cincinnati reaches 25 regular season wins.
  • $50,000 – Cincinnati wins at least a share of the AAC regular season championship.
  • $50,000 – Cincinnati wins the AAC Tournament.
  • $25,000 – Brannen is named conference coach of the year.
  • $50,000 – Brannen wins national coach of the year
  • $25,000 – If Cincinnati’s single-year APR score is greater than 985.


If Cincinnati fires Brannen without cause, he’ll receive 75 percent of his remaining compensation.

If Brannen leaves Cincinnati before the end of his contract, his buyout is outlined below.

  • $3 million – Before March 31, 2020.
  • $2 million – Before March 31, 2021.
  • $1.5 million – Before March 31, 2022.
  • $1 million – Before March 31, 2023.
  • $500,000 – Before March 31, 2024.
  • $0 – On or after March 31, 2024.


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