Release Courtesy of the RMAC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Seven extraordinary athletes and a nine-year dynasty were honored on Friday at the 13th annual Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame & Awards Ceremony at the Colorado Springs Marriott.
Jessie Banks (CSU-Pueblo), Kimberly Bosen (Adams State), Justin Coleman (Nebraska-Kearney), Rusty Crick (Colorado Mesa), Glen Frank (Colorado Mines), Glenn Morris (Colorado State) and Ermelinda Shehaj-Spies (Western State Colorado) were the seven individuals to be inducted into the RMAC Hall of Fame. They were joined by the 1991-1999 Adams State women's cross country squads.
Banks is recognized as the most influential person in the creation of women's athletics at CSU-Pueblo (then known as the University of Southern Colorado). She arrived at the school in 1966, and became the first ever coach in women's basketball and volleyball at CSU-Pueblo. She was also the softball and track & field coach, and served as an Assistant Athletic Director.
In 1979 she was named RMAC Volleyball Coach of the Year in just the second year volleyball was recognized as a conference sport. That year Banks helped Southern Colorado to the East Division championship, a feat they would repeat in1980.
In women's basketball, her 1978-1979 squad won the RMAC East Division with a 7-1 RMAC record. They also won the East in 1980-81. Banks used her influence to help USC land the first ever AIAW (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) small college national basketball tournament. That same year USC played in the tournament.
Banks earned her Masters degree from Adams State in 1966, and undergraduate degree from Central State (Okla.) in 1962. She was also a professor at USC from 1966-1996.
Banks played professional basketball for the "All-American Redheads," between 1954 and 1959. She was at the induction ceremony as the team was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. in 2012. She is a member of the Lindsay (Okla.) High School Hall of Fame, the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports Hall of Fame, the Greater Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame and the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame (charter member in 2008). The school's female athlete of the year award is named in honor of Banks.
Pictures from the evening can be viewed through this Facebook album.