Coach Jon Hanks leaves behind a legacy of success and integrity


Courtesy of Whitney Hanson

Longtime BSM head football coach Jon Hanks has retired, but his legacy remains.

Jon Hanks was the head football coach of the Benilde-St. Margaret’s football team for twenty-eight seasons. During this time, the program had over 100 wins, won numerous conference championships, had two undefeated seasons, and a state championship victory.

However, the largest part of his legacy is not how well he prepared football teams for competition, but how well he prepared young men for the rest of their lives. Coach Hanks always emphasized that he was there to teach his athletes how to be better students, people, and ultimately how to become good husbands and fathers to their future families. Although his success as a winning football coach should not be glossed over, the reality of high school sports is that most players will not use their on-field skills past the high school level.

Although he may have focused on the personal development aspects of the sport of football, that is not to say he hasn’t prepared numerous players for colleges both big and small. In the past 5 years alone, Hanks’ program sent eight players to Division 1 programs, including several Ivy League and Power 5 schools.

Additionally, he has sent numerous players to lower-level programs. College players have overwhelmingly felt that Coach Hanks prepared them for success at the next level. “Coach Hanks and the BSM football program made the transition to a college program pretty smooth. He always taught us to go all out and play with passion, and that carries over to any college program. Even though some of the guys here have more natural abilities, the lessons I learned from Coach Hanks have made it so that I feel I can compete with them,” Joe Marinaro, BSM class of 2020, said.

He taught me how to be accountable, disciplined, and how to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

— John Whitmore

However, Hanks’ coaching style and focus did not only benefit the star football players with aspirations of playing in college, but also players with no football experience. He always welcomed contributors with open arms, whether they would pitch in solely on the scout team or be two-way starters. The love of the game of football was always his largest motivation as a coach, and he always sought to share it with as many players as possible.

Charlie Frattalone, a BSM senior who had not previously played football but decided to join the team in his final year strongly agrees with this sentiment. “Hanks was my favorite coach during my time at BSM. He is inspiring, passionate, and has very high expectations for all of his players, in all aspects of life. Hanks cared about each of his players as if they were his own kids, and he created a great, welcoming family culture on the team. I am grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of his team and learn from him,” Frattalone said.

Hanks’s high expectations are frequently cited as one of his greatest coaching strengths. “He held his players to a remarkable standard that I’m grateful for because he helped me become the person I am today,” John Whitmore, BSM Football class of 2019 said.

Hanks’ high demands often made being a BSM football player a challenging task, but ultimately they paid off in teaching valuable lessons. “He taught me how to be accountable, disciplined, and how to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” Whitmore said.

Although hard on his players for their benefit, Hanks’s coaching did not end with tough love. He knew how to get the most out of each individual player, being fair with everyone and treating each one the same, regardless of their role on the team. He knew when to lean on a player, knowing that pushing them would be for the best. However, he also knew when someone needed support, to have a conversation with them about what was wrong. This was all part of his emphasis on preparing his players for life.

Above most other sports, football is about toughness, grit, and for lack of a better term, violence. Whoever hits harder and brings more intensity will more than likely be crowned the victor. However, in this brutalistic environment, Hanks preached loving the sport, loving your teammates, and playing for the love of the school that you represent. “Coach Hanks always talked about playing with love, which helped make the team dynamic the same way, everyone trying to make each other better out of love for each other and the team,” senior William Petty said.

Coach Hanks will most certainly be missed at BSM. His ability to connect with his players on a personal level made him a positive force in the lives of all of the players who had the pleasure of being on his team. “Coach Hanks was a great coach, but he is an even better man. No matter how hard he coached you, you never doubted how much he cared about you and wanted you to succeed,” Whitmore said.

The football success attained under Hanks speaks for itself, as do the testimonies and experiences of his players. “Coach Hanks was a very good coach but more importantly he was a great mentor and always pushed us to be better men than we could ever be football players,” Petty said.