Marshall Douglas Banks

August 27, 1940October 6, 2020

Marshall Douglas Banks was born August 27, 1940 in Ashland, KY, the youngest child of Lawrence Marshall Banks and Flora Belle (Johnson) Banks. He attended Booker T. Washington High School, where he excelled in academics, basketball, and track and field, and graduated in 1958. He was active in the Boy Scouts and was an accomplished swimmer and lifeguard. As a young man, he and his family attended New Hope Baptist Church in Ashland, KY. He attended Morehead State University (MSU) from 1958 to 1962, and was the first Black athlete to receive an athletic scholarship at the school. He started his collegiate career as a basketball player for the Eagles. But, due to the Jim Crow laws and civil rights issues of the time, he switched from basketball to the track and field team, where he became the first black all-conference performer in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Through his amazing work ethic, Marshall was a member of the Dean’s List all four years at MSU, and he graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 1966, he returned to MSU to become the head track and field coach, and became the first black head coach of any sport in the then Ohio Valley Conference. In 1987, he was entered into the Hall of Fame at MSU. In March of 2008, he received the Founders Day Award for University Service from MSU. Marshall earned his master’s degree in 1963 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), IL. During that time, he continued his love of sports and served as an assistant track and field coach at the University, while simultaneously finishing his doctoral studies. He earned his PhD in 1973 from UIUC.

Dr. Banks was an associate professor in the Department of Recreation Education, at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, NY, from 1973 to 1974. At the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, he was an associate professor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation from 1974 to 1978. At Howard University, Washington, DC, he was a tenured position and Chairman of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) for two terms, 1978 -1989 and 1993 -1999. He served as professor in the HPER for two terms, 1993 – 1989 and 1999 – 2012. After 34 years of service, he retired from HU in 2012 as a professor Emeritus. Marshall was an avid golfer and even invented his own unique putter. He loved all sports, especially football, basketball, golf and tennis. His favorite pro football team was the Minnesota Vikings. (Go Vikings!) He loved all types of food (especially peanut butter blossom cookies), and was a master on the grill. He would grill everything, salmon, pizza, steaks, but his all-time favorites were crab cakes and ribs. He was the type of guy who would grill all year round, even in the snow! He was a worldly person who loved to travel, fine wine, champagne, scotch and cigars, and a huge fan of Jazz music.


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Marshall Douglas Banks

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Barbara Canter

October 13, 2020

I did not know Mr. Banks, but I know his son and from the way Tony turned out, Mr. Banks has a lot to be proud of - Tony is an amazing person and friend.

Condolences, prayers and love to you "T".


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