CCC’s Coach Oree Banks to be Inducted in Sports Hall of Fame
CLARKSDALE – A legend not only at Coahoma Community College where he won conference championships but also for decades at several universities, Coach Oree Banks started his football coaching career at CCC and will be inducted in the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson in April.
“Coach Banks was honored during Basketball Homecoming here in January, and we are delighted he will return as our State Hall of Fame inductee in Jackson,” said Athletic Director Freeman Horton in an announcement before CCC administrators Tuesday.
Inducted in the National Football Hall of Fame in 1995 as one of the top winning coaches in America, Coach Oree Banks launched his remarkable coaching career at Coahoma Junior College more than 50 years ago and continues to lecture and motivate students toward getting an education and winning without drugs.
Following his NAIA Hall of Fame induction, he was honored with a resolution by the Mississippi Legislature and introduced by state Rep. James Evans of Jackson, an All American player under Coach Banks at South Carolina State University.
Born in Newton, Miss., where he played on the varsity football team, Coach Banks volunteered for the U.S. Army and played football on the first team for two years before lettering at Kansas State University on a football scholarship. He also earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree one year later.
At Coahoma from 1960-64, his teams won the Southern Intercollegiate Conference title each year either as champions or co-champions and during his four- year tenure, his teams either tied or won the Mississippi Junior College title (SIC) and compiled a 4-season record of 27-7-1 with only three losses in conference games. In 1963 fellow coaches and conference officials named him the Southern Intercollegiate Conference’s Grid Coach of the Year.
A trailblazer, Coach Banks became the first African American to coach full time at the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia following his tenure as an assistant at Grambling State. Later more than 17 of his black players went on to play in the National Football League (NFL).
Banks became the record-breaking Head Football Coach at South Carolina State University from 1965-72 where he was ranked fourth in the nation in the college division in winning percentages among active coaches. From 1977-83, his success was repeated at West Virginia State University where he was honored by Governor Gaston Caperton. In 1983 he was named a trustee of the American Football Coaches Association.
He received the Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award from the All-American Football Foundation and the P.F. Tucker Outstanding Citizen Award for his civic contributions. Currently Coach Banks is an associate professor at West Virginia State, teaching the sociology of sports and health science. On lecture tours sponsored by the NCAA and supported by Nike, he travels the country presenting “You Can Do Both – Academics and Athletics Without Drugs,” to student athletes.