Jeff Banks’s tenure as Virginia’s special teams coordinator will be short-lived. The school announced Thursday that the former Texas-El Paso assistant is leaving the program after just nine days on the job.
Banks is expected to accept a more lucrative position as the associate head coach for Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin, according to reports. He officially signed a two-year contract with Virginia worth $200,000 annually last week.
“This was a very difficult decision for my family and me to make because we instantly fell in love with Charlottesville and the people here,” Banks said in a statement. “I’m very fortunate to have been presented with both of these opportunities in such a short period of time. Ultimately, the opportunity to coach in the SEC with a friend was too hard to pass up.”
Virginia had scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon to officially introduce Coach Mike London’s revamped staff, most notably new associate head coach for offense Tom O’Brien and new defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, both formally of North Carolina State. But the school called the gathering off Wednesday afternoon and rescheduled it for Jan. 18.
Banks was slated to coach Virginia’s running backs and rejuvenate a special teams unit that finished last in the ACC in punt returns and kickoff coverage. A former punter at Washington State, he held a similar position at UTEP the past 10 seasons. He had ties to Virginia executive associate athletic director Jon Oliver, who used to work at Washington State.
At Texas A&M, Banks will replace former Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian, who was recently named the head coach at Nevada. According to USA Today’s coaches salary database, Polian earned $248,200 in 2012. The Aggies, led by Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, were tied with Georgia at No. 5 in the final AP rankings this year.
A Virginia spokesman said the school has already begun an immediate search for Banks’s replacement.
“I was very much looking forward to having Jeff as a member of our staff,” London said in a statement. “We thought very highly of him. Knowing the position being presented to Jeff, I understand his desire to pursue that opportunity.
“We had considerable interest in this position from a number of quality coaches and now the task is to find an individual who will be able to help us reach our goals and improve as a football program.”