Sumlin Adds Spavital, Banks to Staff
Spavital comes to Texas A&M after two seasons as the quarterbacks coach under Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, while Banks arrives after a short stint at the University of Virginia but coached from 2004-12 under Mike Price at UTEP. The addition of Spavital and Banks fills the openings left when 2012 Texas A&M assistant coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Brian Polian took head coaching positions at Texas Tech and Nevada, respectively.
In his two seasons at West Virginia, Spavital helped the Mountaineers to a pair of bowl games, including a BCS victory in the 2012 Orange Bowl. He helped develop record-setting quarterback Geno Smith, who finished his career in 2012 with over 11,000 passing yards and 98 touchdowns while completing 988-of-1,465 passes. In five seasons as a college coach, Spavital has worked with Sumlin at the University of Houston, Holgorsen at UH, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, Kingsbury at UH and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn at Tulsa..
"Jake has worked on our staff before at Houston and understands what we are trying to accomplish," Sumlin said. " He is one of the top technical quarterback coaches in the country and he has worked with great quarterbacks such as Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden and Geno Smith."
"I know I have some big shoes to fill," Spavital said. "I'm excited to be here, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of keeping this offense moving in the right direction. It's been a smooth transition for me so far. I was with Clarence (McKinney) and B.J. (Anderson) when they were putting in the offense (at Houston) and I know Coach (David) Beatty from when he was at Rice, so I'm familiar with the staff."
Banks has strong ties to Price, who is one of Sumlin's coaching mentors. Banks was a two-time All-Pacific 10 punter under Price at Washington State and served on Price's UTEP staff as special teams coordinator and running backs coach until Price's retirement in 2012. The Miners have had Conference USA's top special teams unit statistically the past two seasons. Last season, UTEP led the conference in net punting and punt return defense, and also blocked four kicks and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
"We have taken pride in excellent special teams play and having gone against Jeff and his special teams several times, I have a great deal of respect for the job that he has done," Sumlin said. "I think he is a perfect fit here at Texas A&M."
"Texas A&M is one of the premier coaching stops in college football with Coach Sumlin and the SEC, which is the nation's best conference," Banks said. "Coach Polian did a great job with the special teams last year, and my goal will be to try to be even better."
Sumlin has one more spot to fill on his staff as he seeks a replacement for former linebackers coach Matt Wallerstedt, who left to join Kingsbury as defensive coordinator at Texas Tech.