To honor the legacy of MSOE Coach and World Cup soccer player Jimmy Banks, Milwaukee School of Engineering is piloting an outreach program for its student-athletes to mentor STEM students at Milwaukee area schools, with an emphasis on Milwaukee Public Schools. Banks was a 1982 graduate of Custer High School, a community leader and an advocate for underserved Milwaukee youth. The Jimmy Banks Scholars program carries on his legacy and commitment to the children of Milwaukee.  

The program connects MSOE student-athletes with students and educators to serve as peer mentors. The MSOE student-athletes will support the growth of STEM competencies for students in middle and high school, inspire students in STEM subjects, and be positive role models. The young students also will have the opportunity to visit MSOE, tour campus, and attend sporting events.  

Participating schools include Glen Hills Middle School, Rufus King International Middle School, and Carmen Schools of Science & Technology. Additional schools are joining throughout the academic year.   Support for the Jimmy Banks Scholars program is provided by the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation and MSOE STEM Department.  

Additionally, a new 55” x 95” mural of Jimmy Banks was installed in the atrium of the MSOE Kern Center further memorializing him. Created by Milwaukee visual artist Mutópe J. Johnson, the painting examines the life of Banks and the positive influence he was on and off the soccer field. From his work mentoring youth in the inner city, to his place on the U.S. World Cup soccer team, and finally his success as a coach at MSOE, the work distills a series of portraits highlighting Coach Banks’ life and career.  

Johnson’s work, which is best known for themes directly related to African American history and its influence on popular culture, has been included in exhibitions at the Overture Center Fine Arts Gallery in Madison, Wis., the Charles Allis Fine Arts Museum, Northern Kentucky University, the Charles A. Wustum Fine Arts Museum in Racine, Wis., the Milwaukee Art Museum, Juxtaposition Gallery in Minneapolis, Susan Woodson Gallery in Chicago, and many others. Of the piece, Johnson said his efforts “broaden the awareness to establish African-American visual art perspectives while providing long-term cultural preservation practices to honor individuals like Coach Banks, who have given so much to their community and the world we live in.”  

About Jimmy Banks  
Jimmy Banks was one of the greatest soccer players to ever come from Milwaukee. He took the helm of MSOE’s men’s soccer program in 1999 and 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’ soccer highlights began at Milwaukee’s Custer High School, where 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 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. He played professionally with the Milwaukee Wave for six seasons.  

Banks passed away April 26, 2019, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He 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.