After graduating from Tipton-Rosemark in 2010 and the University of Alabama four years later, Keagan Bran moved to Dallas and began working in finance.
After two-plus years of that, he decided it wasn’t for him.
“I had my fill of corporate life and decided to move back home,” said Bran, 29, “and I landed here.”
“Here” is Brighton High School, where he served as an assistant basketball and football coach from 2017 to 2021. Earlier this year he was named the girls’ basketball head coach, replacing Stan Gatlin, who coached boys’ and girls’ basketball the last two seasons. Gatlin is now coaching boys only.
Bran inherits a team that struggled mightily during an unprecedented 2020-21 season. Some players opted out for COVID reasons and there were just seven players on the roster for much of the season. The team’s best player, senior DeMiyah Gatlin, missed all but seven games because of a knee injury and the Lady Cardinals went 3-15, with two of those wins coming by forfeit.
Most coaches would see it has a huge challenge to get a program back on track. Bran doesn’t look at it that way.
“I don’t see it as a challenge,” Bran said. “I think it’s an opportunity, and not really for me, per se, but for these girls coming back to show people they’re not what last year was.”
During a summer workout session on Tuesday there were 18 players on the court. Many of them are new to the sport, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“We have to have girls out here for the program to thrive,” said Bran.
As Bran and assistant coach Fuzell Richardson ran the girls through some five-on-five drills, Bran was upbeat, regularly encouraging players when they made mistakes.
“I’m definitely a positive guy, but kind of laid back,” Bran said. “I’m not going to freak out about one bad day of practice. I’m more about where I want us to get to.”
Five players return who saw significant varsity action last season, led by junior Cassidy Johnson, who averaged 7.5 points per game, which was second on the team behind DeMiyah Gatlin, who is now playing for Southwest Tennessee Community College.
“We’re working on the whole teamwork aspect,” Bran said after Tuesday’s practice. “It’s time to get serious.”