MSOE's Men's Soccer program was under the leadership of one of the soccer world's greatest players to ever come from Milwaukee: Jimmy Banks. Banks was a valued member of the MSOE community and played a tremendous role on and off the soccer field in Milwaukee and around the world.
He took the helm of the MSOE soccer program in 1999 and at nearly two decades, was one of the longest-tenured coaches at the school, not to mention a decorated athlete and coach himself. Under his leadership, the Raiders played in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and had several Academic All-American athletes. For his efforts, Banks was repeatedly named Coach of the Year—including for the 2018 season.
Banks grew up in Milwaukee's Westlawn Housing Project and started playing soccer at a nearby Salvation Army. He kept up with the sport over his childhood years and his soccer career began to take off at Milwaukee’s Custer High School, where in 1981 he was an All-American forward—the first prep All-American in state history. While at UW-Parkside, he was an NSCAA NAIA All-American selection in 1983 and after transferring to UW-Milwaukee, he was a two-time NSCAA All-Midwest Region selection. After college, Banks was a member of the United States National Team, making 36 appearances for the U.S. including two starts at the 1990 World Cup as a defender.
After college, Banks was a member of the United States National Team, making 36 appearances for the U.S. The highlight of his international career was making two starts at the 1990 World Cup as a defender.
Professionally, Banks was the No. 1 selection in 1987 of both the Major Indoor Soccer League, by the Kansas City Comets, and the National Professional Soccer League) by the Milwaukee Wave. He chose to stay home with the Wave starring for the franchise from 1987-93 and was inducted into the franchise hall of fame in 2013.
While playing for the Wave, he founded a soccer league for inner-city youth at the LaVarnway Boys & Girls Club. He wanted to bring the values and discipline of the sport to a community where soccer was not widely played. He also founded the Simba Sport Club, which exists today as Milwaukee Simba Soccer Club. Their mission is to channel urban, minority, and low income youth into organized activities.
In 2002, he was among the honorees in the "Decade of U.S. Soccer" celebration held in the nation's capital. Banks is an inducted member of UW-Milwaukee Athletics, Custer High School and Wisconsin Soccer Association's Halls of Fame. Banks also believed in community, giving back to Milwaukee by developing urban youth soccer programs.
In 2019, MSOE and the international soccer world mourned the loss of Banks after he lost his battle with cancer.