Texas A&M approaches Southern’s Roman Banks for assistant’s job

Southern men’s basketball coach Roman Banks is seeing recruiting from the other side.

Banks appears to be getting a strong recruiting pitch from Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy to reunite with him. Banks’ eight-year tenure (2003-2011) as an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana began with a two-year stint as Kennedy’s top assistant.

Jaguars Athletic Director William Broussard gave permission to Kennedy to speak with Banks, and the two have already spoken twice. Banks said he expects a follow-up meeting with Kennedy, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

“Billy and I had a good conversation,” Banks said. “We had some good years together and we became close. I’m thankful for being considered. I think I need to go and entertain what he has to say.”

Banks was named Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year last season after leading the Jaguars to the regular-season championship despite operating under an NCAA postseason ban. It was the second time Banks has won the award in his three seasons at Southern.

Though he said he’s excited about the future with the Jaguars, Banks acknowledged that the uncertainty with the ban complicates things. He said his understanding is Kennedy is looking to fill the position of his top assistant, though Glynn Cyprien, a New Orleans native, is listed as associate head coach on the Aggies website.

“He knows I’m completely happy and we have the program here going in the right direction,” Banks said, “but (the NCAA ban) will weigh heavily on my decision.”

All of the Jaguars programs remain under the ban because documentation of student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates that the university submitted was deemed “unusable data” by the NCAA. Southern is hopeful of having the ban lifted in the near future; NCAA representatives are scheduled to visit Southern on Monday and Tuesday.

Banks said he plans to meet with Broussard and Chancellor James Llorens next week after the NCAA visit. Though the NCAA is not expected to rule on Southern’s case immediately, Banks said he’s hopeful of having “a great gauge” of what is likely to happen.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that the signing period for high school recruits begins Wednesday.

“I know Billy doesn’t want this to drag on,” Banks said.

Banks has four years remaining on a contract he signed 11 months ago. He has a base salary of $165,000 and can earn more than $200,000 annually by meeting incentives. The contract does not include a buyout, Broussard said Friday night.

The Jaguars finished 19-13 after a 64-46 loss to Prairie View A&M in the second round of the SWAC tournament last month.

The disposition of the NCAA case could have additional impact on the Jaguars and Banks, whose son, Trelun, was a starting guard on last season’s team and was named the SWAC Freshman of the Year. Broussard has said that if the NCAA ban remains in place June 1, Southern athletes would be free to transfer to another school and become eligible immediately.

Banks said he has “a business aspect and a personal aspect” to weigh.

Kennedy is a New Orleans native who played at Holy Cross High and SLU. He was a student assistant with the Lions (1985-86), a volunteer assistant at UNO (1986-87) and an assistant at Tulane (1989-90).

He has come under increasing pressure to elevate the Aggies program. Kennedy was hired in 2011 and inherited a program that had made six consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.

But each of Kennedy’s three teams have fallen short of the NCAA field. His first team finished 14-18, his second team was 18-15 and last season A&M was 18-16 and 8-10 in the Southeastern Conference.