Let Us Know How We Can Help

If there is any reason that you need to get a hold of someone on the basketball staff, please see the information listed.  We can provide up to date biographies and the academic progress of any player on our roster, answer questions that you may have in regards to our basketball program, or set up a conference if necessary.  We want to be accessible.  However, please understand that during the course of a season (or throughout the year) things can get quite busy.  Please be patient with us as we try to find time to get back in touch.  Thanks again for your support of the Francis Howell Central Basketball program.

Head Coach Brian Cissell

The 2019-20 season was his first as the varsity boys basketball head coach.  He has been on the Spartan coaching staff for more than 20 years where he coached all three levels within the program.  Brian has coached more than 50 seasons at Howell Central over the 23 year history of the school.  He has coached baseball at FHC since 1997.  He has also coached on the football staff, was an assistant girls basketball coach, and was the head softball coach when he won Coach of the Year honors in 2013.  Currently, he is the assistant varsity baseball coach and sponsors the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  Brian is married to Tammy Cissell.  They have three boys: Kaleb, Kade, and Kannon- all who have played, are playing, or have graduated from Francis Howell Central High School.

Brian was a three sport athlete at Francis Howell High School where he played football, basketball, and baseball.  He graduated from Francis Howell in 1989.  After high school, he attended Florissant Valley, Southwest Missouri State, and earned his degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  He played his collegiate baseball career at Florissant Valley.  He was selected to play baseball in a junior Olympic baseball tournament while in high school and travelled to Australia and Canada to represent the USA.  While in high school, he was an All-Conference selection in both football and baseball respectively.

Asst. Varsity Coach: Matt Nicholson

This will be Coach Nicholson’s second season as the varsity assistant coach at Francis Howell Central. He will continuing his role as the defensive coordinator and coordinator of post player development. After high school, Coach Nicholson started his basketball career at Illinois Central College (ICC) in East Peoria, Illinois. ICC is a nationally top ranked junior college coached by Tony Wysinger, a former basketball player at the University of Illinois. After playing basketball for two years he continued at ICC as a student assistant coach. Coach Nicholson then continued his basketball career at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Upon finishing his college career he planned to pursue a professional basketball career in Europe, but unfortunately he sustained a serious back injury. In order to continue following his passion, he decided to pursue coaching.

He worked as a graduate assistant at Henderson State University for a year before receiving his first head coaching opportunity Garrett Memorial Christian School in Arkansas as the Boys and Girls varsity head coach. Under Coach Nicholson, Garrett Memorial had some of their most successful seasons. The varsity girls reached the final four back-to-back in their state tournament. The boys varsity was able to improve tremendously from a five-win season to a twenty-five-win season and the final four in their state tournament. After two seasons, he returned to his high school alma mater to coach along side his mentor, Coach Kevin Brown at Washington Community High School (WCHS) in Washington, Illinois. While coaching at WCHS the team made it to the Illinois Sweet 16.

Coach Nicholson relocated to the St. Louis metro area after marrying his wife and former collegiate basketball player, Melissa. Prior to FHC he coached at Clayton High School as the freshman head coach and the varsity assistant coach for two years. Coach Nicholson is very passionate about basketball and the opportunity it gives young men and women to grow as athletes and as adults. He is excited to continue his coaching career at FHC and is committed to the Spartan Code.

Asst. Varsity Coach: Chris Williams

I’m honored to be beginning my second year here at Francis Howell Central as the Varsity Assistant Coach. During my first year I was the Head Coach for the JV team as well as the Assistant Varsity Coach. Prior to coaching at Francis Howell Central, I was Head Freshman Coach/Assistant Coach at MICDS in 2018. Prior to that after moving to St. Louis in 2017, I was the Assistant Coach, Scout and Player Development Coach for St. Louis Community College. Prior to moving to St. Louis from Peoria, Illinois, I was the Assistant Coach, Scout and Player Development Coach at Illinois Central College from 2012-2016. Prior to that, I was Head Coach for Peoria Academy from 2010-2012 and prior to that, I was Assistant Coach for Pleasant Valley from 2006-2010. I have also sent over 100 players to college on basketball scholarships from my AAU program that I ran while in Peoria before my wife and I relocated. I have also developed players from my AAU program and from my years of coaching collegiate basketball that are currently still playing on all of the college levels and some even playing professionally. I’m very blessed to be able to give back what the game of basketball has given to me.

Asst. Coach Chris Williams

This is Chris' first year coaching in the Spartan Basketball program.  Coach Chris (Slim) Williams finished his college Bachelor degree in Psychology in 2014 and right after college he pursued a semi pro and professional basketball career. Coach Slim played semi pro basketball all over the United States and played his professional career in Spain, El Salvador, China X2 and Mexico. Once he played his final season in Mexico he then took his talents back to the U.S. to play in one of the biggest basketball tournaments on ESPN, The TBT. After playing his last televised basketball game, Coach Slim decided to start focusing more on giving back his Basketball knowledge to the youth in Missouri. Training basketball players as clients was the main focus for Coach Slim. After his career, he then started to work with NCAA college players and elite high school recruits. As he trained and developed players he then was offered to be an assistant coach for multiple summer basketball programs and high school basketball programs. Coach Slim was offered to be a part of the Francis Howell family and accepted the challenge. He has developed a new love outside of playing professionally and that is being an assistant coach. Coach Slim is excited to be a part the Francis Howell Central program. He is the Head JV coach currently at FHC and has said that his goal is to not win every game, but to learn something bigger than the game.   That goal is to teach players how to compete at a high level, be a good teammates to others, being able to make mistakes and actually learn from it, and to help players by leading them through his example. Coach Slim believes if these small things are shown on the court when they are playing a simple basketball game, then when something big is approached to them IN LIFE then they're reaction and response will show based on what they've learned during basketball. God bless the reader of this bio.

Asst. Coach DeAndre Miranda

This is Dre's first year coaching with the Spartans.  He is a proven winner who helps develop our Spartan players through his instruction and experiences.  He has a passion for coaching that stems from a rich history of basketball growing up in Peoria, IL.  Dre won back to back state championships at Peoria Central High School in 2003 and 2004.  After graduating high school, he attended Central Florida Community College where he was part of a team that advanced to the state finals each year he was on the team.  From Central Florida Dre went to the University of Monterallo in Alabama for a year before transferring back to the University of Illinois-Springfield where he finished his basketball career and earned his degree in Interpersonal Communications.

Since graduation, Dre has been focused on working with the inner city youth/at risk youth at the Boys and Girls Clubs and then transferred to a position as a residentual counselor at the Children's Home in Peoria, IL.  Currently, DeAndre is working as a paraprofessional at FHC and is a welcomed addition to the basketball staff.

Asst. Coach Keith Looten

Keith Looten is the Freshman Head Coach.  He has been working within the basketball program since it started in 1997.  He is also a math teacher and football coach at Francis Howell.

Asst. Coach Keith Cissell

Keith has been in the Spartan Basketball program as a Head JV coach, head Freshman coach, and is one of the directors of the Hoplite Basketball Academy.  Keith graduated from Francis Howell where he played basketball.  Since graduation, Keith pursued his dream of becoming a stand up comedian and stage actor. He began his stand up career in 2002 and in 2009 was the winner of the Best of Saint Louis Comedy Competition.
In 2010 a near fatal car crash almost ended not only Keith’s Comedy career but also his life. He spent ten days in a coma with less than a five percent chance to live; many would not have predicted Keith’s return to the stage. Never to give up Keith’s unbreakable determination and endless drive have been a testament to his ability to turn tragedy to triumph.
In recent years Keith has been Featuring and Headlining comedy clubs and corporate functions throughout the Midwest and has been seen in numerous live stage shows including The Riverside Players presentation of Little Shop of Horrors, and The Rotten Brothers Sideshow. He has opened for comedic acts such as Kevin Nealon, and Tommy Davidson, and even won a dance contest on Ellen!  However, more than comedy, Keith's passion has always been playing basketball.  He has been, and continues to be, a vital part of all things pertaining to Spartan Basketball.



Francis Howell Central High

5199 State Highway N

Cottleville, MO 63304

Contact Information

FHC Spartan Basketball Staff

Head Coach:  Brian Cissell

Phone: 314-606-4036


Asst. Coach: Matt Nicholson


Asst. Coach: Chris Williams


Asst.Coach Chris Williams

(314) 456-2427

Asst. Coach DeAndre Miranda

(309) 323-1773

Asst. Keith Looten


Asst. Keith Cissell

(314) 614-7396