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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Remembering Athletic Excellence

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame: Washington-Greene County Chapter

JAMES A. BANNER

2004 - TRACK & FIELD / CROSS COUNTRY - POSTHUMOUS
A graduate of Canonsburg High School, University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University. He became Canonsburg & Canon McMillan High School's Track & Cross Country Teams from 1953 thru 1961. Head coach, Track and Cross Country at the University of Pittsburgh from 1966 thru 1975. His dual meet record was 72-26, raising Pitt into an eastern power. He coached 18 Eastern and 4 Individual NCAA Champions, 28 All-Americans and his 1971 Distance Medley Team set the World Record. He also introduced the Pitt Invitational, a National showcase of collegiate talent. In 1973 Banner became head coach of the United States All-Star Track squad and traveled abroad to West Germany, Austria, Italy, the Soviet Union and West Africa. The Americans defeated all, but fell to the Russians by a mere four points.

At Carnegie Mellon University he became a highly successful and respected Athletic Director and served from 1975 thru 1988. He elevated the athletic department to a position of prominence among NCAA Division III schools. During his tenure CMU won over 25 conference championships and has been represented in many NCAA Regional and National Championship events.

This outstanding gentleman entered the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and was decorated with a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. He was inducted into the Hall of Valor at Soldiers & Sailors Hall in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.