Obituary: Robert Lee Banna, Former Coach - 1968-74 - July 28, 2018
Obituary for Robert Lee Banna
March 14, 1934 - July 28, 2018
Robert Lee Banna was born in Birmingham, Alabama on March 14, 1934 and died in Lafayette on July28, 2018. Bobby Banna was the product of Catholic school education. Our Lady of Sorrows Elementary School and John Carroll High School provided the educational and ethical foundation that would be a part of his coaching philosophy.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree from McNeese State University. In 1959, he became the assistant football coach at Catholic High in New Iberia, Louisiana. While there, he was part of the first State Championship team of the Catholic High Panthers’ program.
In 1968, he took a job at USL as offensive line coach and head baseball coach. During his tenure as offensive line coach, USL received its first post-game invitation to participate in the Grantland Rice Bowl. As the head baseball coach, his team tied for the Gulf States Conference championship, and he received the Coach of the Year honor in 1970.
He left USL in 1974 and became head football coach at Fatima High School. He continued his coaching career in the public schools of Lafayette. He served as an assistant coach at Acadiana High and as head football coach at Comeaux High. He retired in 1997 after thirty-five years of coaching.
In retirement, he pursued a late interest in golf. When the opportunity presented itself, he became a marshal at the Wetlands. His daughters were delighted that he had gotten his whistle back. Coach Banna was married to Charlene Vines for fifty-five years. He is also survived by three daughters, Kay Aillet and her husband Larry, Elizabeth Dunn, and her husband Gary, and Carol Whitehurst and her husband, Jeff. He was also the proud grandparents of Lauren and Catherine Aillet, Patrick and Caroline Dunn, and Gus and Elizabeth Whitehurst.
When asked about his coaching philosophy, Coach Banna said that in dealing with his players, he always demanded that they dedicate themselves to hard work and discipline. He stressed that these traits would see them through the difficult times they would encounter on the playing field. He hoped that they would also see the value of this preparation in their daily lives. He also STRONGLY encouraged them never to be quitters but always to give their best to reach their goals.
Services will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Wednesday, August 1 with visitation from 11 am to time of mass at 1pm. Mass will be celebrated by Father Howard Blessing and Co-celebrated by Father Chester Arceneaux. A reception celebrating his life will be held in the Calais Center. Pallbearers will be Larry Aillet, Gary Dunn, Jeff Whitehurst, Patrick Dunn, Gus Whitehurst, and Rob Vines. Honorary pallbearers will be all the fine men he coached throughout his career. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Coach’s name to Cathedral-Carmel School.
Personal condolences may be sent to the Banna family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com.
Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Dr, Lafayette, LA is in charge of funeral arrangements.
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Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.