Last night, former Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s basketball coach Jessie Banks was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
“This is wonderful,” said Banks during the ceremony. “It’s a great honor and I’m humbled to be a charter member of the CSU-Pueblo Hall of Fame.”
The ceremony occurred during halftime of the women’s basketball game versus New Mexico Highlands.
Banks joins former CSU-Pueblo men’s basketball coach Harry Simmons as charter members of the Hall of Fame. The school will accept nominations for its inaugural class in March.
Banks coached the women’s basketball team, then known as the University of Southern Colorado, for 12 seasons and finished her coaching career with a 105-155 record.
Wins and losses don’t tell the entire story.
Banks was able to find success coaching collegiate women’s sports before it was the norm.
Prior to 1972, colleges and universities were not required to adopt women’s athletic programs for the school. When Congress passed Title IX into law in 1972, the amendment required any educational program or activity which received federal financial assistance to carry an equal amount of women’s and men’s athletic programs.
In the early ‘70s Banks pushed for small colleges to have their own divisions.
Banks joined Southern Colorado with the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, which during the ‘60s and ‘70s was the governing body for women’s collegiate athletics. Banks coached her 1975 team to the AIAW Small College Championships.
When Banks retired from coaching she stayed at Southern Colorado and became a professor of physical education before retiring in 1996. She also served as the assistant athletic director for the school.
Before coaching at Southern Colorado, Banks was a member of the “all-American redheads”, a professional women’s basketball team, in the 1950s.
Besides her induction into CSU-Pueblo’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Banks was previously recognized by the university for her accomplishments by having the school’s female athlete of the year award named after her.
The celebration included a plaque presentation. The school also brought back several of Banks’ former players to honor her contributions to the university and women’s athletics.