Ben Braun

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Ben Braun
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1953-11-25) November 25, 1953 (age 63)[1]
Chicago, Illinois
Playing career
1972–1975 Wisconsin
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977–1985 Siena Heights
1985–1986 Eastern Michigan (asst.)
1986–1996 Eastern Michigan
1996–2008 California
2008–2014 Rice
Head coaching record
Overall 615-517 (.543)
Accomplishments and honors
MAC Tournament Championship (1988, 1991, 1996)
MAC Regular Season Championship (1988, 1991, 1996)
NIT Championship (1999)
MAC Coach of the Year (1988, 1991, 1996)
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1997)

Benjamin Abraham Braun (born November 25, 1953) is a men's college basketball coach.

He is the former coach at Rice University, where he spent eight seasons. Previously, Braun spent 12 years with the California Golden Bears program and 11 years at Eastern Michigan University. He won the most games (185) of any coach in Eastern Michigan's history, and he was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year three times. As the head coach at Cal, he won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, and had a 202–138 record (.606).

Early and personal life[edit]

Braun was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is Jewish.[2][3] His father is Academy Award nominee producer Zev Braun. He graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, where he excelled on both the basketball and, as a shortstop, baseball teams.[2][4]

Braun played one year of basketball at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.[2] He then transferred to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[2] He earned a teaching degree in English, with a minor in African-American Studies, in June 1975.[2] He earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling from Siena Heights in 1980.[2]

He and his wife, Jessica, have a son Julius and a daughter Eliza.[2]

Basketball coaching career[edit]

After graduating from Wisconsin in 1975, Braun began his career as an assistant coach at Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin. After two years of coaching high school basketball, he accepted the head coaching job at Siena Heights University. Braun coached Siena Heights for eight years, taking the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school to a 148–103 record and five postseason tournaments.

Prior to the 1985–86 season, Braun took on the position of associate head coach at Eastern Michigan. Midway through the year, on January 15, 1986, he was elevated to interim head coach. Within two years his Hurons (Eagles from 1991 onwards) were in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. During his 11 years at Eastern Michigan, he guided the Eagles to four postseason berths, including three NCAA appearances. Braun accumulated a record of 185–132 and was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year three times. His 185 wins are the most by a coach in Eastern Michigan Eagles men's basketball history.[5]

In the summer of 1989, he was the head coach of the U.S. men's basketball team at the 1989 Maccabiah Games.[6] The team lost to Team Israel in the final.[6]

Braun replaced Todd Bozeman as the head coach at Cal prior to the 1996–97 season. Expectations were low as the Golden Bears were predicted to finish in the bottom half of the conference. However, the team finished tied for second in the conference and reached the NCAA Sweet 16. The team finished the season 23–9 and gave Braun a school record for most wins by a Bear coach in his first year with the program. Braun went on to win the Pac-10 Coach of the Year - the first Cal coach to ever receive the award.

In the 1998–99 season, Braun's club defeated North Carolina, UCLA, and Arizona during the course of the year to become the first team ever at Cal to beat three Top 10 schools in the same season. Then after entering the NIT, the Bears, led by Geno Carlisle, won five consecutive postseason games to capture the NIT title - Cal's first postseason tournament championship since the Bears won the 1959 NCAA title. Cal finished the 1998–99 campaign with a 22–11 record.

In 2000–01, the Bears returned to the NCAA Tournament, finishing with a 20–11 record, and Sean Lampley - Braun's first recruit at Cal after NCAA sanctions were lifted from Bozeman's tenure - became the school's all-time leading scorer late in his senior campaign, finishing with 1,776 points.

In 2001–02, the Bears again went 23–9 and tied for second in the Pac-10 standings. Cal earned a No. 6 seed in the NCAA playoffs, where the Bears toppled Penn before falling to Pittsburgh in the second round.

In 2002–03, Cal again reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament behind All-Pac-10 forwards Joe Shipp and Amit Tamir. Shipp ended his career in the No. 3 position on the Bears' all-time scoring list, while teammate Brian Wethers finished in the No. 15 position.

In 2005–06, Cal defeated USC and Oregon to reach the Pac-10 Tournament final for the first time ever. Leon Powe and the Bears then earned a No. 7 regional seed in the NCAA Tournament and finished the year with a 20–11 mark. On November 21, 2005, Cal defeated Long Beach State, 88-69, to give Braun his 500th career win.

During his tenure at Cal, Braun directed the Bears to more postseason appearances and more postseason victories than any coach in school history. He finished the 2006–07 campaign with a 202–138 record with the Bears and a 29-year career mark of 535–373. He ranks second to Nibs Price (1925–54, 449–294) in both tenure and wins at Cal, while his Cal winning percentage (.606) is the best at the school since Hall of Famer Pete Newell guided the Bears to a 119–44 mark from 1955–60.

Two days after losing to Ohio State in the 2008 National Invitation Tournament, Braun was fired as head coach of the Golden Bears on March 26, 2008.[7]

Braun was hired as the head men's coach at Rice, replacing Willis Wilson in 2008. He resigned on March 13, 2014, after six seasons with the Owls, compiling a 63-128 record.[8]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Siena Heights (NAIA) (1977–1985)
1977–78 Siena Heights 8–21
1978–79 Siena Heights 24–6
1979–80 Siena Heights 21–11
1980–81 Siena Heights 22–11
1981–82 Siena Heights 19–13
1982–83 Siena Heights 21–12
1983–84 Siena Heights 15–14
1984–85 Siena Heights 18–15
Siena Heights: 148–103
Eastern Michigan (Mid-American Conference) (1986–1996)
1985–86 Eastern Michigan 5–10 4–10 T-9th
1986–87 Eastern Michigan 14–15 8–8 4th
1987–88 Eastern Michigan 22–8 14–2 1st NCAA 1st Round
1988–89 Eastern Michigan 17–12 8–8 4th
1989–90 Eastern Michigan 19–13 8–8 5th
1990–91 Eastern Michigan 26–7 13–3 1st NCAA Sweet 16
1991–92 Eastern Michigan 9–22 4–12 8th
1992–93 Eastern Michigan 13–17 8–10 6th
1993–94 Eastern Michigan 15–12 10–8 T-5th
1994–95 Eastern Michigan 20–10 12–6 3rd NIT 1st Round
1995–96 Eastern Michigan 25–6 14–4 1st NCAA 2nd Round
Eastern Michigan: 185–132 103–79
California (Pacific-10 Conference) (1996–2008)
1996–97 California 23–9 12–6 T-2nd NCAA Sweet 16
1997–98 California 12–15 8–10 T-5th
1998–99 California 22–11 8–10 T-5th NIT Champions
1999–00 California 18–15 7–11 7th NIT Quarterfinals
2000–01 California 20–11 11–7 T-4th NCAA 1st Round
2001–02 California 23–9 12–6 T-2nd NCAA 2nd Round
2002–03 California 22–9 13–5 3rd NCAA 2nd Round
2003–04 California 13–15 9–9 T-4th
2004–05 California 13–16 6–12 T-8th
2005–06 California 20–11 12–6 3rd NCAA 1st Round
2006–07 California 16–15 6–12 9th
2007–08 California 17–16 6–12 9th NIT 2nd round
California: 219–152 110–106[citation needed]
Rice (Conference USA) (2008–present)
2008–09 Rice 10–22 4–12 T-10th
2009–10 Rice 8–23 1–15 12th
2010–11 Rice 14–18 5–11 10th
2011–12 Rice 17–15 8–8 7th CIT Quarterfinals
2012–13 Rice 5–26 1–15 12th
2013–14 Rice 7–23 2–14 16th
Rice: 63–128 21–75
Total: 615–517

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ NCAA® Career Statistics
  2. ^ a b c d e f g RICEOWLS.COM: Ben Braun Bio
  3. ^ "Jewish Coaches Association Meets for Final Four Breakfast, Despite Scandal Surrounding Bernie Fine and Bruce Pearl" – Tablet Magazine
  4. ^ "Ex-coach Ben Braun recalls seeing Bartman's Wrigley reach" - The San Diego Union-Tribune
  5. ^ "Eagles Hit the Road for MAC Tilt Against Huskies". Eastern Michigan University. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-04-23. Ramsey is the seventh head coach in EMU men’s basketball history to record a minimum of 50 career victories. Ben Braun, currently the head coach at Rice University, is the all-time coaching leader with 185 wins followed by Elton J. Rynearson with 160, and Jim Dutcher 127. 
  6. ^ a b Ben Braun Bio - The University of California Official Athletic Site - | University of California Official Athletic Site
  7. ^ "Cal coach Ben Braun fired after 12 seasons". Yahoo! Sports. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  8. ^ Ben Braun, Rice Owls part ways

External links[edit]