Gary Banks, Travis Pearson returning to Troy Football Staff

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2024

With rumors circulating throughout the internet over what Gerad Parker’s first Troy Football staff will look like, the school confirmed on Wednesday that assistant coaches Gary Banks and Travis Pearson will be retained as a part of the staff.

The retaining of Banks and Pearson are the first official hires of Parker’s tenure at Troy. Additionally, Parker announced that he was retaining some off-the-field staff members, as well. He is retaining Troy Chief of Staff Jamaal Smith – a longtime Trojan staff member – along with special teams analyst James Vollono and director of football video Aaron Sisk. Director of Equipment Ian Grier will also remain on staff but will move to Director of Operations.

Banks is entering his fourth season on the Troy staff as receivers coach. Banks is a Troy graduate where he played for the Trojans, helping the school to its first FBS Bowl Game ever. He led Troy in receiving in both 2006 and 2007, earning 155 career receptions during his All-Sun Belt career.

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After graduating, Banks played three years with the San Diego Chargers before entering the coaching world. After starting out at his high school alma mater, Spain Park as a receivers coach, Banks became an assistant coach in 2013 at Miles College. From 2014 through 2017, he served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Florence High School and served as receivers coach and offensive coordinator at Foley High School in 2018.

Banks served as head coach at Choctaw County in 2019 and 2020 before joining the Troy staff in 2021. Banks has already coached a number of All-Sun Belt receivers at Troy, including Tez Johnson, RaJae’ Johnson, Jabre Barber and Chris Lewis.

Pearson is an Alabama native that played college football at Alabama State before playing professionally in the Arena Football League from 1994 until 2001. He played for various teams, including the Tampa Bay Storm, Miami Hooters, Florida Bobcats and Los Angeles Avengers. He was named as a member of the AFL 15th Anniversary Team in 2001.

Pearson began his coaching career while still playing in the Arena League, as the head coach at Central-Hayneville in 1998 before becoming an assistant at Elmore County in 2000. He was elevated to head coach at Elmore County in 2002 and then became defensive coordinator at Oxford High School in 2005.

In 2007, Pearson jumped to the college game as Director of Football Operations at Iowa State until 2008 when he returned to the high school game as the head coach at Jeff Davis in Montgomery until 2010 when he joined the staff at Georgia powerhouse Colquitt County as defensive coordinator. As a high school head football coach in Alabama, Pearson’s teams went 32-40 including his 12-1 2004 Elmore County squad.

Pearson returned to college as the linebackers coach at South Alabama in 2013 and became defensive coordinator for the Jaguars in 2014. He became defensive coordinator at Alabama A&M in 2016 and then returned his alma mater Alabama State as safeties coach in 2018 before becoming defensive coordinator in 2019. In 2021, Pearson became interim head coach at Alabama State and led ASU to a 2-2 record over the last four games.

He joined Jon Sumrall’s staff at Troy in 2022 and has coached the cornerbacks with the Trojans ever since, with a number of players earning All-Sun Belt honors like Reddy Steward and O’shai Fletcher.

Smith has been with Troy for 18 years, serving on the staffs of Larry Blakeney, Neal Brown, Chip Lindsey, Sumrall and Parker. Vollono is returning for his third season at Troy, while Sisk is also entering his third year. Grier began his career as a graduate assistant at Troy in 2012.