Thomas More University Welcomes Brian Neal as Women's Basketball Head Coach

Thomas More University Welcomes Brian Neal as Women’s Basketball Head Coach

CRESTVIEW HILLS, KY (May 2, 2024) – Thomas More University President Joseph L. Chillo, LP.D., and Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Connor announce the hiring of Brian Neal as head women’s basketball coach at Thomas More University.

“We are thrilled to welcome back Coach Neal to Thomas More University,” Chillo says. “Coach Neal brings an impressive coaching career to the Saints women’s basketball program. His high level of success and commitment to the student-athlete experience made him the obvious choice as we continue the transformation of our athletic program as provisional members of the NCAA DII and the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.”

“Coach Brian Neal brings a wealth of experience leading collegiate programs,” says Connor. “I know he will do great things at Thomas More as we advance toward our full transition to Division II. We are excited to welcome him back to Thomas More University.”

Neal returns to Thomas More after a one-year head coaching stint at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. He led the Fire to a 22-8 overall record and a 11-3 record in conference play. The Fire captured the SUN regular season title outright and won the SUN tournament championship, earning them an automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament.

Prior to Southeastern, Neal served as an assistant coach under former head coach Jeff Hans at Thomas More, helping the Saints to an overall 31-4 record and leading the team to the 2023 NAIA National Championship game.

“Thomas More is a special place and I’m humbled to rejoin an institution with such rich academic and athletic traditions,” says Neal. “I want to thank President Chillo and Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Connor for their trust and support. I’m looking forward to leading the Thomas More women’s basketball program and working to develop our student-athletes to their fullest potential on-and-off the court.”

Coach Brian Neal addresses the media at a press conference on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

Neal also served as the assistant coach at Butler University from 2020-2022, and at Eastern Illinois from 2019-2020. He spent six seasons as head coach at NCAA DI Xavier University from 2011-2018, helping to rebuild their program. In his second season, he increased the program’s win total by 10 and had the ninth biggest turnaround in the NCAA that season. He tallied three Big East Honorable Mention honorees and two All-Freshman Team honorees. Neal had spent two seasons prior as an assistant on the Musketeers staff.

Neal returns to Thomas More as the head coach after being away for 13 years. During his seven (2004-2011) seasons at Thomas More, he recorded an impressive overall record of 171-31 (.847), with seven consecutive winning seasons, six consecutive 20 win seasons, five consecutive PAC Championships, and five straight NCAA DIII National Tournament appearances. Neal was named PAC Coach of the Year four times, two-time Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year, coached 24 All-Conference Players, one All-American, and one Conference Player of the Year. In 2010-2011, he led the program to their first number one ranking in the country and second undefeated regular season in four years, while also advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons. He was named the Russell Athletics/WBCA Region Six DIII Coach of the Year in 2011.

Photograph by Bruce Crippen

Before his time at Thomas More, he served as assistant coach at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) under Nancy Winstel for six seasons. He helped coach the Norse to a 156-36 (.813) overall record. While also helping the team capture the NCAA DII National Championship (2020), two National Championship game appearances, four Elite Eight appearances, and appearing in the National Tournament each year he was there.

Neal started his coaching career at Wilmington College as an assistant coach to Jerry Scheve from 1992-1998. The Quakers had back-to-back 20-win seasons in his first two seasons there. Neal also served as the sports information director.

He graduated from NKU in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. Neal and his wife Amy reside in Northern Kentucky with their four children, Allison, Madison, Emma, and Maxwell.


About Thomas More University

Founded in 1921, Thomas More University stands as a beacon of academic excellence and innovation, challenging students to Make It More. Deeply rooted in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, this timeless foundation supports a transformative educational experience as students looking to Be More are guided in the pursuit of knowledge, ethical leadership, and the integration of faith and reason. Through the high-quality, liberal arts education provided at Thomas More, students examine the ultimate meaning of life, their place in the world, and their responsibility to others which leads to the ability to think critically and contribute meaningfully to the world. Serving more than 2,000 students, Thomas More takes its place as the premier Catholic university in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, being named one of the 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. by the Wall Street Journal.

Media Contact: Kristen Gallagher, Director of PR & Communications, 859-344-3309,