Southern, Banks negotiating new deal

One day after concluding a visit from NCAA officials, Southern turned its attention Wednesday to the future of men’s basketball coach Roman Banks.

Athletic Director William Broussard and Chancellor James Llorens met with Banks to discuss enhancing the coach’s contract and securing his services long-term.

Texas A&M contacted Banks last Friday about the vacancy for the top assistant’s position on head coach Billy Kennedy’s staff. Banks spoke twice with Kennedy, for whom he was an assistant for two seasons at Southeastern Louisiana (2003-05).

It’s unclear if Kennedy has made a formal offer to Banks, who put talks with the Aggies on hold while awaiting an opportunity to visit with Broussard and Llorens. But the Jaguars appear to be proceeding with a sense of urgency.

“We had some really good conversations and things are moving in a positive direction,” Broussard said after the meetings concluded Wednesday night. “We’ve done some negotiating trying to put together terms that hopefully will be amenable. We’re not finished, but we’re encouraged that coach Banks has given us an opportunity to present our case.”

Broussard said contract talks also “have gone really well” with women’s coach Sandy Pugh, who like Banks was named Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading Southern to a regular-season conference championship. Her current deal expires June 30.

Banks has four years remaining on a contract he signed 11 months ago. The contract calls for a base salary of $165,000 and incentives that can raise Banks’ income to more than $200,000. The contract does not include a buyout.

“We want to make sure we have an agreement that’s good for the university and for coach Banks,” Broussard said. “We appreciate the job he has done.”

Banks has twice been named SWAC Coach of the Year in his three seasons. The Jaguars finished 19-13 after a 64-46 loss to Prairie View in the second round of the SWAC tournament last month.

“We’re going to revisit it (Thursday) and put things on paper,” Broussard said. “We’re trying to strike a balance. We had a great conversation and decided to go home and sleep on it and hopefully come to terms.”

Banks said if he had to make a choice between Southern and A&M it would be a difficult one. He said he’s optimistic about the Jaguars’ future, and his son, Trelun, was named SWAC Freshman of the Year last season.

On the other hand, Banks said being a top assistant at a Southeastern Conference school is “a very good position” and he and Kennedy are good friends.

The NCAA’s two-day visit to Southern that concluded Tuesday was the latest step in the university’s attempt to get an NCAA ban for all of its athletic programs lifted. The ban was instituted as a result of insufficient documentation by the university of student-athletes’ academic progress in recent years.

Banks said the ban would be a factor in any decision he might have to make, and the case likely won’t be closed until next month.

Kennedy is looking for a replacement for New Orleans native Glynn Cyprien, who was recently dismissed after three seasons as Kennedy’s top assistant. Kennedy was hired by the Aggies in 2011 and inherited a program that had made six consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. But each of Kennedy’s three teams has failed to reach the NCAA tournament or the NIT. A&M was 18-16 and 8-10 in the SEC last season.