Roman Banks, Southern agree to contract extension

Advocate file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern coach Roman Banks shouts to his players earlier this season. Show caption
Advocate file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Southern coach Roman Banks shouts to his players earlier this season.

Southern men’s basketball coach Roman Banks said it didn’t take long for he and the Jaguars to reach agreement on a two-year contract extension.

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy, for whom Banks was associate head coach at Southeastern Louisiana from 2003-05, received permission from Southern on April 11 to speak with Banks about a similar position on the Aggies’ staff. He did so the same day, and Banks asked for time to talk about his future with the Jaguars, who were preoccupied with an impending visit from NCAA officials.

Kennedy agreed and, the day after the NCAA left, Banks sat down with Southern Chancellor James Llorens and Athletic Director William Broussard. Those talks yielded a two-year extension that Banks and the Jaguars agreed to Monday without a concrete offer ever coming from the Aggies.

“I think the chancellor and the athletic director did a great job of saying, ‘We understand the situation; just give us a chance to address our situation here,’ ” Banks said. “We had to bide our time a little because of the NCAA visit. After we had a chance to sit down and talk about how to make the program better, it wasn’t a lengthy process. They brought some great ideas to the table.”

Neither side would divulge all the details, which will be presented to the SU Board of Supervisors for approval at its May meeting. Llorens said it was a two-year extension of Banks’ current deal, which he signed 11 months ago. That deal has four years remaining with a base salary of $165,000, incentives that can raise the income to more than $200,000 and no buyout.

Banks, the Southwestern Athletic Coach of the Year last season, has rebuilt the program in the wake of NCAA probation for insufficient academic progress by student-athletes.

His three-year record is 59-35 and 42-10 in SWAC play. The Jaguars were on NCAA probation for Banks’ first season and finished 17-14 and 13-5.

Two years ago, Southern (23-10, 14-3) won the SWAC tournament and hung with No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga before losing 64-58 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Jaguars won their first SWAC regular-season title in 10 years last season, finishing 19-13 after a 64-46 loss to Prairie View A&M in the second round of the SWAC tournament.

That team also was operating under an NCAA postseason ban because of inadequate reporting of academic progress. The NCAA is winding up its evaluation of the case in the wake of its visit last week, but a ruling isn’t expected until next month.

“I feel very strongly about the people who are in place here now,” Banks said. “We’re not 100 percent certain about the outcome of the current situation, but we’ve hired the people to make a difference, and it’s a great situation going forward.”

Banks was on the road recruiting Monday after receiving a boost by being able to assure prospective recruits that he’ll be their coach.

“I think it’s a good move for the university,” Llorens said. “It gives stability to the basketball program, and it allows Coach Banks to continue to do what he wants to accomplish at Southern University.”

Tre’Lun Banks, Roman’s son, started at guard last season and was named SWAC Freshman of the Year.

“We’re excited about the prospect of continuing our relationship with Coach Banks, and I remain excited about his leadership of the men’s basketball team at Southern U.,” Broussard said in a statement released.