PUEBLO, Colo. (Feb. 3, 2009) - Colorado State University - Pueblo will recognize former women's basketball coach, Jessie Banks, a pioneer of women's athletics at CSU-Pueblo, during halftime of CSU-Pueblo's women's basketball game vs. New Mexico Highlands University on Tues., Feb. 17. The game begins at 6 p.m.
Banks will be honored with a charter membership to the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Fame, which will be accepting nominations for its inaugural class in March. Banks will join former CSU-Pueblo men's basketball coach, Harry Simmons, as charter members in the Hall of Fame. Banks' recognition will include a plaque presentation and a celebration with former CSU-Pueblo women's athletes.
Banks' legacy at CSU-Pueblo lies in her influencing the creation of women's athletics at then-University of Southern Colorado. She put Southern Colorado women's basketball on the map, joining the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), then the governing body for women's intercollegiate athletics in the United States, and earning a berth in the AIAW Small College Championships in 1975 after Southern Colorado put up a 10-5 record, hosting the national tournament at the University of Southern Colorado.
Arriving at the school in 1966, she coached both basketball and volleyball at those sports' inceptions. She also served an Assistant Athletic Director and professor of Physical Education during her tenure. In 12 seasons, her basketball teams posted a 105-155 record. In addition to the team's 1975 national playoff berth, the 1978-1979 basketball squad posted an unblemished 8-0 slate in RMAC play, winning the RMAC Eastern Division Title.
Today, CSU-Pueblo's female athlete of the year award is named for Banks, and she continues to play an active role in the Pueblo sports community. A scholarship fund has also been established in her honor at CSU-Pueblo for a female student-athlete.
To celebrate Banks' honor, CSU-Pueblo would like to invite all former players, female athletes and co-workers in joining her in celebrating this event. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Niki Whitaker, CSU-Pueblo Associate Director of Athletics, by calling (719) 549-2021. For more information in donating to Banks' scholarship fund, contact the CSU-Pueblo Foundation at (719) 549-2380.