|Position:||Assistant Coach / RB & TE|
A Western Carolina assistant football coach from 2009-12, Arketa Banks has returned to Mark Speir's Catamount football coaching staff. Banks, who was initially retained by Speir upon his hire in 2011, returns to Cullowhee after spending the 2018 season on staff at Gardner-Webb where he coached the running backs and tight ends, continuing that role in his new appointment.
“We’re thrilled to have Arketa and his family back as a part of our Catamount football family,” said Speir on the addition of Banks to his coaching staff. “He is an outstanding recruiter, football coach, and mentor for our young men. He understands our culture and will promote the vision of our football program and this university. We are so happy that he is back in the Purple & Gold.”
Banks – who Speir coached as a player during three seasons at Elon – returns to again lead the Catamount running backs and will add the tight ends. He coached that same position for three of his previous four seasons on the WCU sidelines, mentoring 2009 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year in Catamount RB Michael Johnson. During his first stint in Cullowhee, he also served as the team’s community service liaison and assistant director of camps and clinics.
During his first stop in Cullowhee, three Catamount running backs collected SoCon All-Freshman honors including Johnson, Shaun Warren (2011) and Darius Ramsey (2012). Ramsey went on to collect first-team Academic All-America honors in 2014. WCU’s offensive scoring on the ground increased from seven TDs in Banks’ second season in 2010 to a dozen in 2011 and 22 in 2012 – which was the most since WCU rushed for 25 TDs in 2001.
After leaving WCU, Banks coached at NCAA Division II powerhouse Lenoir-Rhyne for five seasons from 2013-17 where he was the slotbacks coach in 2013-2014 and wide receivers’ coach from 2015-17. Under his tutelage during the 2014 season, the Bears’ slotbacks rushed for a school and D-II national-record 416.2 yards per game. Seniors, Chris Robinson
While at Lenoir-Rhyne, Banks also served as the Director of High School Relations and In-State Recruiting for the Bears.
A heralded defensive back and track & field standout, Banks got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Warren County High School in Warrenton, N.C., in 2004 as the junior varsity head coach, taking over at the varsity level in 2005. It was in the latter year that he posted a 6-5 record and mentored QB Victor Hunt to the NCC Player of the Year honor. He also coached prep football at Wakefield High in Raleigh in 2006-07, coaching defensive backs and quarterbacks.
He earned his first collegiate coaching position at Brevard College in 2008 coaching the defensive secondary and was the program’s recruiting coordinator before making his first move to Cullowhee prior to the 2009 season.
A 2003 graduate of Elon, Banks was a four-year letter and an All-Big South Conference performer on the football gridiron, collecting second-team plaudits as a receiver and a kick returner in 2002. During his career with the then option-oriented Phoenix between 1999 and 2002, Banks helped establish the program as one of the top independents in NCAA Division FCS before Elon’s first season in the Big South in 2002, receiving team MVP honors in 2001 after catching 22 passes for an average of 24.5 yards per reception with six touchdowns.
Going into his senior year at Elon, The Sports Network (now STATS FCS) deemed Banks the “fifth-best kick returner” in NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) football after earning All-Independent as a return specialist in 2001. During his career, he led Elon in receiving from 2000-2002, amassing 1,371 yards on 54 catches with 17 receiving touchdowns.
Banks and his wife, the former Ms. Latora Pettaway of Henderson, N.C., were married during the summer of 2009. The couple has three children; Shymia, Kimora, and Arketa, II.