General of the Week: Tom “Baner” Bane

After more than four decades of service at Washington and Lee, equipment manager Tom Bane, or “Baner” as he is often called, is moving on to the next stage in his life: retirement. Bane took some time to sit down with us and talk about his experience at W&L, his hobbies and the future.


Ellen Kanzinger

Thomas “Baner” Bane.Photo by Ellen Kanzinger ‘18.

Claude Miller

Phi: How long have you been at Washington and Lee?

Tom Bane: Forty-four years. Forty-four great years

Phi: What does your job entail?

TB: I handle all outside sports equipment, wash all the uniforms and practice clothes. All the uniforms are clean and always waiting for the team. It’s called pride. I’m like these kids’ mother. These are my kids. I want to do the best I can do for them.

Phi: How have things changed since you’ve been here?

TB: Oh my goodness! They aren’t having as much fun as the kids in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  The time always changes things.  But it’s the same type of kids, all raised right to have respect. I got along with all of them, we were family.  That hasn’t changed. I have changed because of the kids. We also got our own W&L girls now. The girls from Hollins used to come in on Thursdays or Fridays and stay the whole weekend.

Phi: What are some of your favorite memories on campus?

TB: There’s so many. I remember when we got to see Dave Matthews Band and Hootie and the Blowfish when they was first starting out, Willie Nelson, all the great bands. There were the charter bus parties out at Zollman’s Pavilion. They’d have to get two charter busses to take us all out there. I’m sure the boys would love to go out there now. Alumni class reunions were always fun. Red Square and Davidson Park were rockin’. I had as much fun with the kids as they had with me. I used to be a traffic coordinator and I handed out the most tickets, but I also had more friends than any other traffic coordinator. This one kid that parked in front of a fire hydrant, he was an SAE, climbed out the window in Newcomb and told his teacher, “That dang Baner is moving my car I know it!”

Phi: What are you looking forward to the most in retirement?

TB: I want to tend to my farm. I have some beef cattle and like to do my own hay. I want to spend time with my grandkids. I got four beautiful grandkids. I want to see my alumni friends and their families. I’ll go down to Rome, Georgia and up to Baltimore to visit friends.

Phi: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

TB: I make sure my place is looking beautiful, have dinner with my beautiful German wife. I like playing with my grandkids when they’re in town. I just really try to enjoy every day of my life because I may not be here tomorrow. Life is that short. So I just want to enjoy it. After December 31, get in touch with me, me and Doris would love to have you over.