Charles Bankins completed his first season at Old Dominion as running backs coach and special teams coordinator.
Bankins helped running back Ray Lawry break his own single-season rushing record with 1,255 yards, while Jeremy Cox rushed for a career-best 732 yards and a team-best 14 touchdowns. ODU set the single-season rushing record with 2,559 yards, with 2,225 of that coming from the running backs.
Lawry and Cox also combined to catch 22 passes out of the backfield for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lawry caught a 59-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the season, while Cox had ODU's longest play of the season, an 84-yard touchdown catch at Florida Atlantic.
Bankins' special teams units were much improved from a season before, as ODU finished fourth in Conference USA in punt and kickoff return average, and finished in the top-10 in the country in kick return defense.
Kicker Brad Davis, punter Bailey Cate and punt returner Darrell Brown all earned C-USA All Freshman Team honors.
Bankins was the special teams coach at Vanderbilt the last five seasons and coached the running backs the last two seasons while coaching tight ends the previous three years. Bankins’ kickoff coverage units ranked in the top-15 nationally twice while three of his specialists earned All-SEC accolades. This past season, sophomore running back Ralph Webb rushed for the second-most yards in school history and the most ever by a sophomore.
“I’m excited for a chance to come back home to Hampton Roads. I lived in Hampton when my dad was at Fort Monroe. It’s great to finally have an FBS program in a great recruiting area like Hampton Roads and I’m really looking forward to being able to recruit that talent and bring ODU Conference USA Championships,” Bankins said. “I have followed what Coach Wilder has done at ODU, laying a great foundation and I’m happy to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to this great opportunity.”
Prior to his tenure at Vanderbilt, Bankins spent two years at Maryland as the tight ends and special teams coordinator. The Terps’ punt returner Tony Logan earned first-team All-ACC accolades and finished third in the country in punt return average while former NFL second round draft pink Torrey Smith earned All-ACC honors as a kick returner. Bankins helped the University of Richmond to an FCS National Championship in 2008 and a CAA Championship in 2007 while coaching the special teams and running backs. Before that he was the offensive coordinator at Hampton for the 2006 season, his second time with the school and was the assistant special teams coach for the St. Louis Rams under Mike Martz in 2005.
Bankins was at Hampton the five prior seasons, helping the Pirates to a MEAC Championship in 2004. He also worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers as a special teams intern. He began his coaching career as a wide receivers coach at Eastern Kentucky and helping them to an Ohio Valley Conference Championship before heading to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and helping them to the Division II semifinals.
Bankins played running back at James Madison from 1990-92 and helped the Dukes to the 1991 I-AA playoffs.
The Bankins File:
Hometown: Hollywood, Md.
Primary: VA (Chesapeake, Richmond, 64 to Charlottesville), NE PA (Scranton Wilkes-Barre)
2016-Present: Old Dominion - Running Backs/Special Teams
2016: Ray Lawry - Honorable Mention Conference USA
"Coach Bankins did an outstanding job in his first year at Old Dominion developing a strong group of running backs as well as our special teams. We set our single-season record for rushing yards with 2,559 and the consistent play of Ray Lawry and Jeremy Cox coached by Charles was a big reason. Our running backs did not fumble the ball in 2016, which speaks to good coaching of ball security. Charles also was in charge of our special teams. I am pleased with the development in all areas. We will continue to improve under his leadership."