Earl C. Banks, more than any other man, put Morgan State University on the map and single-handedly shaped the lives and destinies of hundreds of young black men. He was a legend in his time and one of the greatest college football coaches in the United States posting a fantastic .839 win-loss percentage.
There were numerous lofty accomplishments in his 14 years at the helm of the Morgan State football program, including a 31 game winning streak, three unbeated regular seasons, five Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (CIAA) and four bowl games. Twice under Banks' tutelage, the Bears led the nation in total defense.
It was Banks who sent Willie Lanier to the Kansas City Chiefs, Leroy Kelly to the Cleveland Browns, Mark Washington to the Dallas Cowboys, John Fuqua to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Raymond Chester to the Los Angeles Raiders.
Turning out top notch professional players was a minor part of Papa Bear's job as he saw it. "I want to develop a good citizen, a man who can contribute something - give something back to society," he stressed. I try to treat my players like they're my sons. I want them to tell me their troubles."
Coach Banks amassed enough citations, plaques and other awards to literally fill a room. To list a few: he received the "Man of the Year" Award from the Baltimore Sports Writers Association, the Maryland Football Hall of Fame; the Pigskin Club of Washington; and the Washington Touchdown Club; he was the CIAA Coach of the Year - 1962, 1965, 1966; Pittsburgh Courier National Coach of the Year; Sportsman of the Year - Baltimore Sports Reports Association; and Coach of the Year, Pigskin Club of Washington DC.
He was inducted into five Sports halls of Fame, which are as follows: 1982 - MSU Varsity "M" Club, Inc; 1987 - Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association; 1992 - National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA); 1993 - Mid-Eastern Athletics Conference. The crowning star was his induction into the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, which he considered his "Closing Chapter."
From his experiences, Coach Banks coined a motto that he often repeated to his players: "I shall rise from that whence I came." Only a few men can give the gift of giving, and Coach Banks gave himself. With that, he gave a lot of young men hope for the future.