NEW ORLEANS – The Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and Southern University Men’s Basketball head coach Roman Banks has been named the Outstanding College Coach of the Year for the State of Louisiana.
He will be recognized at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories, in addition to selecting each year’s Hall of Fame class and Amateur Athletes of the Month.
Southern has improved immensely under the watch of Banks. After winning only 11 games in the two seasons prior to his arrival, the Jaguars are 40-24 in two seasons with him head as coach.
Banks he led the Jags to a 23-10 record and into the NCAA Tournament where Southern came close to pulling off the biggest upset in tournament history. Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, narrowly defeated the 16th-seeded Jaguars, 64-58, in the first round. No 16 seed has ever beaten a top seed.
But Banks’ accomplishments – noteworthy as they are because of what his team did in action – are magnified considering what he and his staff got his squad to do in the classroom.
Southern was banned from the postseason during the 2011-12 season because of its poor Academic Progress Rate. The NCAA began meting out penalties to schools with low APRs the previous school year and Southern was one of those institutions. The Jaguars lost two scholarships and were banned from the postseason.
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee began in 1958 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 12 years, the committee honored local athletes each month.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier bowl games in the country, having hosted 23 national champions, 86 Hall of Fame players, 46 Hall of Fame coaches and 15 Heisman Trophy winners in its 79-year history. The Bowl will host the 80th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on January 2, 2014.