The question is: How do you interview a basketball coach?


Sydney Wege

Lina Kaval asking a question at the press conference

The students arrived in full school mode: quiet and ready to sit back and be taught. But their teacher came with a different state of mind.

Dean Hume, who was leading the opening session on interviewing Tuesday, wanted the students to share some of their character with the group as they introduced themselves.

“We need to get some personality in here,” said Hume, who teaches journalism classes at NKU and advises student media at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio.

Vance Underwood, Jw Story, and Kyle Kruthoffer listening to Coach Brannen
Sydney Wege
Vance Underwood, Jw Story, and Kyle Kruthoffer listening to Coach Brannen

Hume spent the next half hour provoking a discussion using props such as his Bronson Arroyo Reds jersey and a huge question mark he had drawn on a whiteboard to draw students out.  “He was crazy, but in a good way,” said Grace Jackson, a sophomore from Beechwood High School in Fort Mitchell, Ky.

The lesson in interviewing helped prepare the students for a press conference with NKU’s men’s head basketball coach John Brannen, junior guard Lavone Holland, and freshman forward Carson Williams. There, the students questioned the coach and players about everything from the players’ involvement in community service to the team’s eligibility for the NCAA tournament in the spring to the branding of NKU and the switch from Nike to Adidas.



Collin Trissel

“Northern Kentucky University’s basketball program is not as recognizable as other schools in Kentucky like The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, but a fresh roster, entrance into the NCAA Tournament, and an emphasis on a universal athletic branding have the possibility to bring more notoriety.”



Liz Apollonio

“Media and the team’s fan base are “vital,” according to NKU men’s basketball coach John Brannen. “We have to get our message out.” …

As far as the tournament goes, Brannen mentioned the university’s “underdog” reputation and how he doesn’t believe in it. When asked what he would be doing about it, he said, “We’re gonna win. We can compete against anyone.”

Lauryn Holman-cruse

Trust, toughness, and sacrifice are what NKU looks at when they recruit their highly skilled basketball players. Lavone Holland clearly displays all of these qualities. He’s an African American headstrong young man who came a long way to be just where he is.”



“It was a really good experience,” said Jw Story, a senior from Mason County High School. “I think it will really prepare me for other interviews.”

Holland also offered up some stories about transferring twice before coming to NKU and the mental struggles of playing Division I basketball.

“Who you are as a basketball player reflects who you are as a person,” Holland said. “Last year was a lot of pressure on me and it feels more natural to be a leader this year.”

The students were timid first, with some silence between questions, but soon embraced the role of reporter and started firing away, with some help from Hume.

“You need to follow up on more questions,” Hume said after a question about community service. “You could have so many more details if you asked the right questions.”

After the conference, the students gathered around Hume to debrief. How do you think you did, Hume asked.  The students gave themselves a grade of C, but Hume said they did much better than that.

“For a first time I think you guys did an excellent job,” he said. “I would give you a B+ for sure.”

Jackson came away with a lesson for future interviews.

“I had a lot of fun,” she said. “I think we could have asked some better questions and follow up more.”