Brad Francis Let Go At New Bremen

Sports Editor

The New Bremen Local Schools Board of Education relieved boys basketball head coach Brad Francis of his duties as coach, which was announced during its meeting Wednesday.

“I was told on April 9 that my services were no longer needed,” Francis said in an email Wednesday night.

Francis had just completed his first year as varsity head coach for the Cardinals, who finished 8-15 overall, 2-7 in the Midwest Athletic Conference and ended the season losing 10 of the final 12 games.

Francis’ supplemental contract was up for renewal and based on the evaluation Francis sent to The Evening Leader completed by athletic director Gary Jones, Francis received mostly “1s,” meaning he met “effective” standards in his job as a head coach and Jones recommended that Francis’ contract be renewed by the board.

“We appreciate the time you have given to the players and the coaches this past year,” New Bremen Board of Eduction President Shelly Busse said during Wednesday’s meeting. “The decision was made not to renew your contract, as you are aware, and it stemmed from unresolved internal communication conflict and philosophical difference that created uncertainty in the direction of the problem.

“The administration has to look at both short-term and long-term and a long-term solution that provided our student-athletes with a stable environment required a change in leadership.”

During the meeting, however, Francis reportedly talked about issues he was having with freshman coach Tom Howell and stated during his public comments to the board that players on the team had complained about Howell and stated a desire to not want to return. 

“The freshman coach clearly did not respect me as a coach nor did I have his trust, support, confidence or loyalty,” Francis said. “I told the interviewers at both of my interviews last May that those were the main aspects that I first and foremost looked for in an assistant coach.

“I was made aware that there had been some possible issues with the freshmen coach in the past. Several parents made me aware of the fact that he was very negative and did not treat players in a manner in which they expect coaches to treat young men.”

Francis was hired by the school board June 1 to replace Adam Dougherty, who resigned after the 2017-18 season. 

Francis previously was the head coach at Houston High School for one season during the 2016-17 year — taking over for longtime coach John Willoughby — but resigned after that season with a 3-20 overall record. After serving as an assistant to Henry Stolly at Lehman Catholic for two seasons, Francis became an assistant coach at his alma mater, Russia, under Paul Bremigan for 18 years. 

He also served as an assistant coach at St. Henry under Eric Rosenbeck for one season.

“I did absolutely nothing wrong in my treatment of players and gave 100% to the New Bremen High School boys basketball program at all times since my hiring on May 18, 2018 as head coach of the program,” he said. “I would like to thank the numerous players, parents and coaches who have supported me before and after this decision had been rendered.”