Sunday, August 28, 2016

V 6 N. 64 Ted Banks R.I.P.

Ted Banks former coach at University of Texas El Paso died this week.  His 9 year tenure at UTEP was extra ordinary twice winning the triple crown of track and field  being national champion in cross country, indoor and outdoor track in the same year.

From the El Paso Times this excerpt

Banks then put together an almost mind-boggling run of success. It was an almost John Wooden-esque run of dominance over nearly a decade.
His Miner teams won the NCAA Outdoor championship in 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981. His Miners won the NCAA Indoor Championship in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1981. And his Miners won the NCAA Cross Country Championship in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981.
Banks guided the Miners to the almost unheard of triple crown — national championships in outdoor, indoor and cross country in the same season — in 1979-80 and again in 1980-81.

Banks relied heavily at times on Kenyans and Tanzanians.  He must have made them feel very welcome in El Paso, because they really performed well there.   The geography of West Texas bears some similarity to the East African savannah, and that too may well have been a factor.
A number of his guys were world class runners when they arrived in El Paso, but just having a bunch of runners of that level is no guarantee of success.  To keep them all motivated to go on doing well could be a daunting task.

It would be interesting to find out how much he learned from those great runners and how much they learned from him.  It was said that the program played pretty loose with the NCAA rules, but again that was speculation that can't be corroborated.   Maybe some of our readers can bring those things to light.

I attended a track seminar somewhere back in those day and learned a valuable lesson from Banks who was one of the presenters.   He talked about training  frequency and doing what he called the "hard day , easy day' routine.  I took that to heart, and adapted my training and found that it really worked better than the hammering I was doing to myself on an almost daily basis, and a significant  reduction of injuries also came about from that advise.

After staying at UTEP only nine years Banks went on to work for Converse shoes in design and development.  Not sure how long he was there.  That phase was certainly less successful than his coaching days but probably much more lucrative.

Banks ran track at UCLA as an undergrad.  He had three children and two grandchildren and wife to mourn his passing.



Wilfred Schnier said...

I did not know Ted Banks, but I heard he was a good man and also a good coach. Athletes do not flock to a place unless there is a good coach there, especially a place like El Paso, Texas. His teams were dynamic, paving the way for John McDonnell and Arkansas.

Larry Jessee said...

Ted Banks was my coach and like a second father to me....a wonderful..caring man who cared for his athletessnd a great coach

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