Talkin’ to Hawkeye Heaven: Tavian Banks

Story by Derek Pech

Des Moines – The new Hawkeye Heaven website is in its infant stages, however, we promise fans that we’ll constantly be looking for ways to bring you the goods on your Hawkeyes. This week it was an absolute honor to have the opportunity to interview legendary Hawkeye running back Tavian Banks. We can’t thank Tavian enough for giving us a little bit of his time in order to bring Hawkeye fans his thoughts on his career, the current Hawkeye football program, and what he is up to today.

Check out our interview with Tavian below:

HH: First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to chat with us! We have no doubt Hawkeye fans will love hearing from you. What are you up to now days Tavian? 

Tavian: It’s great to be back in Iowa where it all started for me. I have some great memories here and family and friends around. With moving back to Iowa, more opportunities have come in the likes that Tim Dwight (yes that same guy) and I have teamed up on several projects already. Last summer we did a free football camp, which we will be expanding this summer in 2018, and moving around the state. We will host one in the Des Moines area again, and then one back in my home town of Bettendorf (“City of Champions” *that’s an inside joke to anyone who knows me or has heard me speak of that*).

Tim and I are also starting our own radio show called Tavian & Tim Show. This show will cover lots of topics from sports, to local news, to stuff going on around the world. We will have lots of celebrity guests speaking on these topics as well. This won’t be your typical radio show that’s out there. It will feature two legends from the state of Iowa who went to the University of Iowa and had the opportunity to play professional football, and all the travels and experiences that come with that. We believe people will love to hear some of those things. We’re looking forward to having a great show. 

HH: Do you miss playing football?

Tavian: I miss playing football because my professional career was cut very short do to my injury. People don’t really know that I tore three ligaments (acl,pcl,lcl) torn hamstring, and a stretched nerve (which caused dropped foot) all in one hit. I had several surgeries on my knee to try and correct some of the damage at that time. I walked around with a boot (which kept my ankle and foot at 90 degrees) and cane so I could walk. When my injury happened in Jacksonville I didn’t think I would walk again with out a cane. I received shock treatments on my leg to try and rejuvenate the nerves and feeling. I didn’t plan on trying to play football again, but teams kept calling and asking. My nerves grew up a little and I was able to walk and run again with out a cane. My speed was not the same though as I went from running a 4.27 in the 40 yard dash (fastest in U of I history by the way ha-ha!) to a 4.4-4.5 range which is still pretty good, but not when you have been a speed demon since you could crawl. My knee also doesn’t straighten all the way or bend all the way. So I never recovered my full range of motion. That is what ended my attempt to come back with the New Orleans Saints as well. I was never the same player. So it is sad that I never got the chance to reach my full potential professionally because of injuries. That’s what I miss about football, and the behind the scenes stuff that goes on all the time. There are a lot of things that happen that people don’t get to see and/or hear about, and it is those special moments that you share with your teammates and or organization that you miss the most. Those are memories and experiences for a lifetime that you never get back and can’t recreate.

HH: Obviously you played at Iowa for legendary coach Hayden Fry, but what are your thoughts on Coach Ferentz?

Tavian: Coach Ferentz seems like he has been doing a good job at Iowa for the last how many years? 19 or so I believe. Iowa always has a chance to beat anyone at anytime. They never get blown out of games. They always develop great young men who go into the NFL ready to play and have long careers. Those are all great things that Coach Ferentz provides at Iowa. As all good programs of course we wish we could be competing for a national title every year, but that’s few and far between. Coach Ferentz has provided a great environment where a kid can go to a great university, get a top notch education, and play in one of the best conferences in college football. Also, let’s not forget how many “best party school in America” the University of Iowa has won also ha-ha!

Coach Ferentz is highly talked about and receives great reviews by his former players. I have never heard any negative comments from anyone throughout his coaching career at Iowa. That speaks volumes to me. You’re just not going to get that at any other school. 

HH: With Jimbo Fisher leaving Florida State for Texas A+M, Iowa is now the only college football program that has had the same two head coaches since 1979. Why do you think that is, and what does it mean to you?

Tavian: Just speaks to the stability of the program. Two legendary coaches have been able to stay at one school for 40 years. There aren’t universities who can say that.

HH: Do you still follow Iowa’s football team closely? Ever make it back to any games?

Tavian: I watch games every now and then. I don’t watch them as much as I would like to being in the industry that I’m in there is a lot of weekend work and events. Plus my family and kids events too so it isn’t easy to just go watch a game for 4 hours when there isn’t enough time to do so. I went back to an Iowa game several years ago when I was the honorary captain of the game. That is the last time I’ve been to a game, but now that I’m back living in Iowa and closer I will probably make it to more games than I have in past years.

HH: What are your thoughts on the team this season?

Tavian: If the ball and or a call went the other way in a couple of their games Iowa could have had a more successful season, but that is why you play the game. You never know what is going to happen.

HH: What are your thoughts on the near future of the Iowa football program?

Tavian: Again, I would love for the Hawkeyes to play in the BCS Playoffs at some point. We have the coaches, we have the facilities, we even have two of the best traditions in college sports with the swarm coming onto the field, and now waving to the kids inside the Children’s Hospital. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to make a run at the BCS Playoffs in the next couple of years. We have plenty of talented players who know how to work hard and embrace the grind. There’s no reason in my opinion that we shouldn’t be competing in the BCS Playoffs or at least right up there in the near future.

HH: What do you think is the most important area for improvement in order for the Hawks to contend for a Big Ten title next season?

Tavian: Iowa just needs to keep improving like everyone else. Have to stay on the recruiting trail and continue to get the best players we can. A lot of our young guys will have had a year to mature and grow and will be better next season. That’s always a plus. We haven’t really had a home run type player on offense for quite awhile in my opinion either which I believe we need. Someone like a Sedric Shaw or a Tim Dwight. I’d even throw myself in that category. Those types of players are few and far between, but they are out there, and we can get them to come to Iowa because we’ve done it before.

Again, we’d like to thank Tavian for taking some time to chat with us! Hope you all enjoyed the interview. We’re looking forward to collaborating more with Tavian in the future. Be sure to check out Tavian’s new radio show with Tim Dwight on 1700 The Champ in the Des Moines area on Friday nights. If you’re in the Des Moines area and you’re looking for a fitness club please check out the new Ignit Sports and Fitness facility in Grimes. 

Oh, and if you miss watching Tavian make plays for the Hawks check out his ridiculous highlight reel right here… look at that speed! 

Go Hawks! 

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