As part of this year's ABCA/Diamond Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet, former University of Iowa head coach Duane Banks was honored as the 2017 recipient of the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award. A member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Board of Directors, Banks established himself as a great leader on the diamond and also as an ambassador for the growth of baseball around the world.
Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally.
The winningest coach in Iowa baseball history, Banks led the Hawkeyes from 1970 through 1997, amassing a record of 810-575-4 (.583) and guiding the program to its only College World Series appearance in 1972. Prior to joining the staff at Iowa, Banks spent two seasons (1967-68) as head coach at Parsons College in Iowa, where he compiled a record of 91-10 (.901).
Under Banks's guidance, the Hawkeyes claimed Big Ten Championships in 1972 and 1990, as well as a share of the Big Ten crown in 1974. After securing Iowa's first outright Big Ten title in 33 years and the school's only College World Series appearance in 1972, Banks was named District Coach of the year. Banks also earned Big Ten Conference and District Coach of the Year honors in 1990 following a record 22-win season in the Big Ten. He coached Iowa to a school record 44-win season in 1981.
For his career, Banks posted a record of 901-585-4 (.605) while coaching six All-Americans, 31 All-Big Ten selections, 33 Academic All-Americans and 57 players who signed professional contracts. In the fall of 2001, Iowa's home field was officially designated as Duane Banks Field. He has been inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame (1992), the Northern Colorado Hall of Fame (1999) and the University of Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame (2011).
Banks was active in international baseball through his involvement with the United States Baseball Federation. In 1985, he managed Team USA at the Intercontinental Cup where his team competed in Canada, Japan and Korea. Banks also took his Iowa teams to Holland and Mexico and was on the staff of the U.S. Collegiate All-Star team that played all over the world in 1982.
Banks has served as chairman of the NCAA Div. I Coaches committee and as a representative of District Four. Currently a member of the ABCA's Board of Directors and Hall of Fame committee, Banks served as President of the ABCA in 1989.
A native of Grand Junction, Colorado, Banks played college baseball at Mesa Junior College then at the University of Northern Colorado, where he earned All-League and All-District honors three times in baseball. He received his bachelor's degree from Northern Colorado in 1965 and his master's degree from Colorado State in 1969. He played one year of professional baseball in the Atlanta Braves organization in 1964.
Duane and his wife, Jeanette, have two sons, Scott and Kirk, and two grandsons, Nile and Evan.