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Dr. Marshall Banks dies at 80

Dr. Marshall BanksMorehead State University is mourning the passing of alumnus and former track and field coach Dr. Marshall Banks, who died Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 80.  

After attending Booker T. Washington High School in Ashland, Banks enrolled at Morehead State in 1958. He was a member of the Eagle basketball team, earning financial aid from the school as the first Black athlete to be awarded financial aid at MSU and in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). He played basketball for a year and a half before joining the track and field program, becoming an All-OVC performer.  

Banks graduated with a bachelor's degree from Morehead State in 1962 and was a Dean's List student all four years. He made OVC history again in 1966 when he returned to his alma mater to be the head coach of the track and field program, thus becoming the first Black head coach in the OVC.   

Inducted into MSU's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987, Banks received the University's Founder's Day Award in 2008.  

Banks earned a master's degree from the University of Illinois in 1963, where he also served as an assistant track and field coach while working on his doctorate, which he earned in 1973.  
Banks served as associate professor in the Recreation Education Department at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Cortland in 1973 and 1974 and then was an associate professor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Colorado from 1974-78.  
At Howard University in Washington, D.C., he held a tenured position and was chairman of the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation for two terms, 1978-89 and 1993-99. After 34 years of service, he retired from Howard in 2012 as a professor emeritus.  

Banks is survived by his wife of 31 years, Dorothy Banks; a former wife, Sandra Banks; a son, Anthony (Marisa) Banks of Texas, a daughter, Carol (Alexander) Bane of Colorado; two granddaughters, Michaela and Bianca Banks of Texas; his brother, Reece (Lena) Banks of Texas and a sister-in-law, Mary Banks.    

A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the American Heart Association.   

Video credit: Film clip from "Far above the Rolling Campus: A History of Morehead State University," by Steven Middleton, instructor of mass communication at MSU and documentary filmmaker and John Tanner Blevins, a 2017 MSU graduate.