Assistant Coach Pursuing Another Coaching Opportunity
Jeff Banks is the special teams coordinator and the running backs coach, joining Mike London's UVa coaching staff Jan. 3, 2013.
Banks comes to Virginia after working at UTEP for the last nine years for head coach Mike Price. He was the Miners' special teams coordinator while also coaching the running backs and punters. Banks previously served as the recruiting coordinator at UTEP.
Under Banks' direction, UTEP has been one of the top special teams units in Conference USA in recent years. The team currently ranks in the top four in Conference USA's standings for net punting (1st, 39.8 ypp.), kickoff returns (3rd, 23.8 ypr.) and punt returns (4th, 10.1 ypr.)
The Miners had the top special teams unit in Conference USA statistically in 2011, ranking first in the league in punting (40.5 avg.), second in kickoff returns (26.3 avg.), third in kickoff coverage (44.4 avg.) and seventh in punt returns (10.0 avg.). UTEP rated fourth nationally in kickoff returns and sixth in net punting.
In 2011, Ian Campbell ranked fourth in the FBS in punting (46.1 avg.), and Vernon Frazier ratied seventh in kickoff returns (30.5 avg.). UTEP blocked three punts and did not have a punt blocked for the third consecutive year. The Miners also executed successful fake kicks for first downs in road games against New Mexico State, USF and UCF.
Banks mentored a number of players at UTEP who set school records or earned all-conference honors.
In 2009 Banks saw running back Donald Buckram break the UTEP single-season rushing record that had stood for over 60 years. Buckram went over the century mark in eight of 12 games en route to tallying 1,594 yards -- eclipsing the previous school standard of 1,546 yards, established by Fred Wendt in 1948.
Buckram ranked third nationally in scoring (10.5 ppg) and fourth in rushing yards per game (132.8), while winning the Conference USA individual rushing title. He was one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award.
In 2009, Greg Hiett finished 26th in the nation in punting and earned honorable mention all-conference honors. A year earlier Kyle Petersen averaged 43.0 yards per punt to pick up honorable mention all-conference accolades.
Running back Marcus Thomas (2004-2007) finished his career fifth on UTEP's all-time rushing list with 2,615 yards. Thomas is also third in school history in rushing touchdowns (26), fourth in 100-yard games (11) and seventh in all-purpose yards (3,660). He put together a banner senior campaign in 2007, ranking ninth nationally in scoring (9.8 ppg) and 26th in rushing (106 ypg). Thomas' 16 rushing TDs is tied for the third-top seasonal total in school annals. He participated in two postseason all-star games, the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl.
Banks' first season coaching the Miner running backs and punters in 2004 was quite a success. He mentored Bryce Benekos, who finished seventh in the nation in punting, as well as Howard Jackson, who was 25th in the country in rushing. Both players earned first team All-WAC honors under Banks' tutelage. Jackson ended his career as UTEP's second all-time leading rusher with 3,466 yards. Both Benekos and Jackson signed NFL free agent contracts at season's end.
Banks had similar coaching assignments at Idaho State from 2001-03. With Banks on staff, Idaho State won a Big Sky Championship and had back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time in 77 years. Banks tutored three all-conference players in 2003 and helped running back Isaac Mitchell become the all-time touchdown leader in Idaho State history. Mitchell rushed for 1,851 yards from 2002-03.
In his three seasons at Idaho State, Banks was part of a Bengal offense that averaged over 400 yards and 28 points per game. Idaho State ranked in the top-16 nationally in total offense each of his three seasons.
Banks also tutored Eddie Johnson, who led Division I-AA in punting in 2001 and was taken in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft.
Banks began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Mike Price at Washington State, mentoring the Cougars' kickers and punters from 1999-00. He supervised the progression of Kareem Anderson and Rian Lindell, who later enjoyed stops in the NFL. Lindell is currently with the Buffalo Bills in his 13th season in the NFL.
A two-year letterwinner as a punter at Washington State, Banks posted a 42.8-yard average as a junior and 43.4 as a senior. He led the Pac-10 and was 15th in the nation in punting as a senior for a Cougar team that went 10-2 and played Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Banks was selected to play in the Senior Bowl following his final collegiate season.
He started his collegiate career at Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., where he was a first team all-conference kicker and punter. Banks played his prep ball at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif. He lettered in soccer as well as football. He was a member of Bishop Amat's state championship team, going 51-for-51 on extra point attempts.
He and his wife, Kori, have a daughter, Sydnei, and two sons, Gage and Tanner.