Spring 2012

Shocker Sports Hall of Famer Dies at 78

WSU basketball greats and Roland Banks
Shown with WSU basketball greats, from left, Antoine Carr, Xavier McDaniel,
Dave Stallworth, Cleo Littleton, Cliff Levingston — Mr. B is a three-time Hall
of Famer.

He liked green apples, got a kick out of teasing folks of all ages, loved his family and his church and Wichita State — and just about everybody knew him as "Mr. B."

Famed for his strong ties with student-athletes as a 35-year member of the athletics department, Roland Banks had a talent for connecting with people.

"Shocker athletics, Wichita State and this community lost a great soul in the passing of Mr. B," says Eric Sexton '87/92, WSU athletics director. "His spirit will live on forever in the thousands of lives he touched."

Banks came to WSU in 1974, joining the athletics department maintenance staff. From 1976 until his retirement in 2009, he supervised the department's equipment operation, gaining responsibilities through the years. In 1988, he began coordinating events in Cessna Stadium, and he was promoted to special assistant to the athletics director in 1998.

His responsibilities involved the management of home events, including set-up, security and clean-up. As equipment manager, he oversaw the athletics supply rooms, locker rooms and related facilities. He was also in charge of the issuance, custody, repair and ordering of equipment and uniforms for all Shocker sports teams. In his work, he became key in mentoring student-athletes and helping them stay connected with the university after their years at Wichita State.

Roland Banks
Roland Banks

In 1995, he received the President's Award for Distinguished Service. The alumni association presented him the 2004 Laura Cross Distinguished Service Award. And, although neither a professional athlete nor a coach, he was inducted into three halls of fame: the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon him in 2000; the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame, where he was introduced by former WSU football player and nfl veteran Randy Jackson in 2006; and the MVC Hall of Fame, also in 2006, for his service to WSU as a member of The Valley.

In 2009, Kevin '84 and Andrea Clark set up the Roland Banks Honorary Endowed Scholarship in recognition of the influence its namesake had in the Shocker community. Indeed, Banks wielded influence over matters large — and small.

It was ad Sexton who shared this example: At WSU, a bowl of fruit is customarily on hand for visitors to the president's office. During one of his visits, Mr. B noted the absence of his favorite, green apples. There were green apples for him on his next visit.

Banks, 78, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran, died April 5 in Wichita.


The Road Ends Here

Portland. The rain-soaked Oregon city was the last stop for Wichita State's nationally ranked Shockers this season.

Shockers Win National Title

Led by All-American seniors Pat Mosley and Aaron Hynick, the Wichita State club wrestling team won the National Collegiate Wrestling Association's Division II championship in March in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Shocker Sports Hall of Famer Dies at 78

He liked green apples, got a kick out of teasing folks of all ages, loved his family and his church and Wichita State — and just about everybody knew him as "Mr. B."

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