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Wednesday, September 22, 2010Alan Banks played basketball for the Lipscomb Bisons as coach Don Meyer was in the early stage of developing a national reputation for the program. His financial planning business and his children keep him busy now but he found time this week to talk with LipscombSports.com.
What sport(s) did you play at Lipscomb? What years? Who were your coaches?
“I played basketball from 1978-82 for coach Don Meyer.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“Seeing the Lipscomb program go from being a virtual unknown to national recognition during the years that I was there because of coach Meyer and his influence. When I see where Lipscomb basketball is today I take pride in knowing that we were a part of that.
“Coach Meyer said the 1978-82 years are where it all got started. It was a group of guys that coach Meyer put together that wanted to achieve. Coach Meyer inspired us to achieve. He didn’t want us to settle for anything less than the goals we had set.
“Also we played Carson-Newman at McQuiddy Gym in the District Championship in 1982. With that win it was the first time a Lipscomb team had ever qualified to go to the National NAIA Tournament.
“But as I was standing there and the clock was counting down it dawned on me how fast those four years had gone and that I would never play a game on the McQuiddy court again. We had been so focused throughout the year that I never had thought that this would be my last home game.
“When I came out of the game I went wow, my career on this court is over. I tell players all the time to enjoy it because it goes in a hurry.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“Obviously coach Meyer had a tremendous impact on me as did my high school coach, Ronnie Sarver.
“Coach Sarver taught me the importance of commitment. That has what has helped me throughout my entire life, even in my work. It’s about going the extra mile and giving the extra effort.
“Coach Meyer taught me that we aim for goals higher than 10 feet. Coach Meyer helped me to understand that even though basketball was important it was not the most important thing.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“I loved hearing Willard Collins speak in chapel. Any time he spoke in chapel, even when he was trying to be serious, it was funny. I always looked forward to hearing him.
“He didn’t have a clue that he was funny. He was such a great a man. He had such a pure mind.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“I have told this a thousand times in talks. It is God, family, education and basketball.
“There are things more important than basketball and coach Meyer helped define that. It is God thing. It is a family thing. It is an education thing. And then there is basketball.
“You have four years to play basketball and then you have another 50 years to live. If you put all of your emphasis on basketball then you have nothing to fall back on. Coach Meyer really helped me to keep that in perspective while still giving 100 percent in basketball.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“Leo Snow. I tried to go to sleep on the front row of his class every day. I had him for Bible at 8 a.m. I would put my head in my hand and the pen in my other hand and I would go to sleep.
“One time I woke up and looked around and there was no one in class. I looked up at the clock and it was only 8:20. Then I looked toward the door and Dr. Snow was looking in the window with the entire class and they were looking back at me waiting for me to wake up. He did that to me twice.
“Every time I would speak to him he would bring that up. He was such a Godly man. He loved Lipsomb. He loved Lipscomb basketball. He was such a great influence on all of us.
“I could mention all of my professors, but I mention Leo Snow because he mixed in Godliness and education and fun. He taught me a lesson in a very funny way.”
Where do you live now?
“Hendersonville, Tenn. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“My business is Banks-Townsend Planning. We are financial planners. We help people with retirement, investments, estate planning and corporate planning. I have been doing it for 28 years. My 28th anniversary was Sept. 15.
Tell us about your family.
“My wife’s name is Stephanie. We have four kids: A.P., 22, our son and three daughters. Kat, 19, is a freshman softball player at Virginia Tech. Alex, 16, is a junior at Beech High School and she is a basketball and softball player. Ashtin, 14, is a ninth grader at Beech.
“When I was in college I prayed one day that I would be surrounded by women. I just didn’t realize that I needed to clarify what I meant.”