SU, Banks agree on contract extension

The man who led Southern University men’s basketball to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006 will soon be rewarded.

Southern coach Roman Banks, who last month completed his second season with the program, is in line for a contract extention, the school announced Tuesday.

“We have reached an agreement, in principal, to extend the contract of head coach Roman Banks as the leader of the Southern Jaguars men’s basketball team,” Southern Athletic Director William Broussard said in a university news release.

Reached by phone Monday, Broussard said he could not comment further on the contract because it has not been approved by the SU System Board of Supervisors.

Broussard said the deal could be approved later this month.

Banks agreed to a three-year deal in 2011 that paid him $115,000 in base salary. A year later, Broussard reworked the coach’s contract to include a number of performance-based incentives.

The announcement of the extension came a day before the start of college basketball’s spring signing period.

“There have been so many rumors and so much speculation about what I’m going to do and where I was going to be,” Banks said, “that it had affected recruiting. Being able to tell (recruits) I’ve agreed to a long-term deal removes some of the anxiety from kids and parents, knowing I’m going to be here.”

Banks said he was approached in recent weeks about job openings at other schools, either as a head coach or top assistant. However, he would not say which schools contacted him.

“I knew that I wanted to be here, and I knew I never needed to get in a position of having to choose,” Banks said. “But there were some other opportunities out there.”

Banks, who left his position as a Southeastern Louisiana assistant in 2011 to take the Southern job, has strong ties to the Jaguars that predate the six-year stretch he spent as an SU assistant early in his coaching career.

Banks’ father, Cleophus, starred for the Jaguars in the 1960s. His brother, Carlos Sample, played point guard for Southern during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In his first season as the Southern head coach, Banks led Southern to a second-place finish in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a huge climb from its 10th place finish the previous season.

Meanwhile, he helped rid the Jaguars of the APR issues that had resulted in a ban from the postseason and scholarship reductions.

Southern won 20 regular-season games this season, its first time reaching the 20-win mark since 1999. After winning the SWAC tournament for the first time since 2006, the Jaguars threw a scare into No. 1 seed Gonzaga in their first game of the NCAA tournament, losing by only six points after tying the game twice in the final minutes.

No team seeded 16th, as Southern was, has beaten a team seeded first in NCAA tournament history.

“I’m just elated to know that people respect what you have done,” Banks said. “To see Southernites and fans and supporters excited about basketball again is really exciting for me.”