April 3, 2024

Lake Minneola Head Football Coach Walter Banks Steps Down

3 min read| Published On: April 3rd, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Lake Minneola Head Football Coach Walter Banks Steps Down

3 min read| Published On: April 3rd, 2024|

Coach Walter Banks is a name now synonymous with Lake Minneola Football. When you think of the Hawk program, Coach Banks is one of the first people who comes to mind. With a record of 62-39 over the past 9 seasons that Coach Banks was part of the program, he has made a lasting impact. Coach Banks took to social media to express his gratitude for his time with Lake Minneola.

(Coach Walter Banks ends his career a winner of 62 games having lost just 39 with the Hawks. Image Credit – Prep Redzone)

“Football has always been a tremendous part of my life. I’ve loved the game from the moment I first played it as a child in Montgomery, Alabama,” says Banks. “For the past 27 years, I have worked with some of the best young players to come out of Lake County at three area schools – South Lake, Montverde Academy, and Lake Minneola. In addition to my football and teaching duties, I also coached girls’ basketball at South Lake and Lake Minneola. In fact, the 2004 team at South Lake achieved a 27-2 record. It was the school’s first winning record for the girls’ basketball program and is the best record in any sport at South Lake High,” says Banks.

Being a coach is extremely mentally taxing, and Coach Banks would express that “It’s a year-round job and it consumes a tremendous amount of time. This is in addition to the teaching requirements that go along with being a faculty member in good standing. I have reached the point in my life where I am at a crossroads and it’s time to make an extremely difficult decision. I am stepping down as Head Football Coach and Co-Athletic Director at Lake Minneola High School. It’s just time,” says Banks.

(Coach Banks would get Lake Minneola to a State Championship football game in 2020. This had not been accomplished in 40 years.)

“I have informed Mr. William Roberts, Lake Minneola principal, along with the team players and coaches. I will remain with the team through spring practices to help provide some continuity and will offer any assistance to whoever is hired to replace me. I also intend to remain on the teaching faculty at Lake Minneola, a job I have held since 2012,” says Banks.

Coach Banks would go on to thank South Lake principal David Bordenkircher, who entrusted Banks with the South Lake program in 2007. He also listed some of the things he is most proud about, including getting Lake Minneola to the regional championship every year but once since 2019.

(Lake Minneola has grown a lot under coach Banks. The program is in much better shape than when he took the program on in 2015.)

In 2020, Lake Minneola became the first team in Lake County to play for a State Championship in nearly 40 years since Eustis High School did that in the 1980s. “So many people have come together to transform the Hawks into the program we have become, from the assistant coaches to the student-athletes who wore the Lake Minneola colors,” says Coach Banks.

Walter Banks especially pointed to Mama Hawk, the legendary principal Linda Shepherd-Miller, for allowing the football program and the staff to lay the foundation of what was to come. Coach Banks ended with, “It’s not easy to walk away from something you’ve loved and been involved with for most of your life. But I feel comfortable with my decision. The ultimate goal for any coach, at any level, is to leave a program in better shape than when it was when he walked in the door for the first time. I feel confident that is the case with the Lake Minneola Football team. I’ll always be a Hawk, and I’ll miss those Friday Night Lights! But it’s time to go.”

We reached out to Lake Minneola for comment on who may replace Coach Walter Banks, although we have not heard any rumblings. One thing is for sure, Lake Minneola has a strong list of candidates on the coaching staff to choose from.

Congratulations to Walter Banks on a job well done. He was a true leader, and his teams were some of the best Lake County had to offer over the past 9 years. We are sad to see him go, but we are excited that he is at peace with his decision. We look forward to seeing who the next Head Football Coach of Lake Minneola High School will be.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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