Written By: Beth Atlas, Manager & Curator, 49ers Museum
Contributor: Joe Hession, 49ers Museum Historian
For the 49ers, football is business, so its front office functions as any other corporation would. Many individuals work off the field to ensure that both the team and Levi's® Stadium run like well-oiled machines. Among these front office employees are several women whose careers with the team span decades. Over the next few months, 49ers.com will share their stories, which explore memorable moments in 49ers history from the perspectives of the women who have seen it all.
Angela Banister began working a temporary position with the 49ers in August 1987 as part of the college scouting department where she gained first-hand knowledge of the inner-workings of a professional football franchise. Thirty-four years later, she is a well-recognized office veteran.
In the early years, "I was typing scouting reports into the computer while being schooled about football and scouting by the College Scouting Assistant, Suzette Cox," Angela said.
She proved to be a good worker and quick learner. Angela was brought on full-time in February 1988, after a mere six months on the job. She was hired as Assistant to Director of Pro Scouting Allan Webb, who, at the time acted as a one-man show.
"Allan showed me first-hand about hard work, integrity and grit," Angela said. "He was the sole pro scout for several years—traveling to games every weekend of the season, keeping up on injuries and movement of players and writing in-depth scouting reports on our upcoming opponent for the coaches."
Their work was certainly not in vain, as 1988 turned out to be a very eventful year for the team. Before the season began, the 49ers pulled up stakes. They moved their headquarters from Redwood City, 20 miles down Highway 101 to Santa Clara. The new state-of-the-art facility, which would fondly be referred to as "4949" (in reference to the building's street address) provided both the football and business sides room to spread out.
"It was a BIG deal to move into the 4949 building," Angela recalled. "Everyone felt so spoiled. I remember how exciting it was to move into a brand new building with so much room."
The new facility provided the 49ers staff a spacious setting to create a plan of attack for the upcoming football season. It culminated in a nail-biting conclusion at Super Bowl XXIII. "We went all the way to Super Bowl – in Miami – and it seemed we were going to lose, but Joe Montana and John Taylor pulled it off and we won," Angela recalled, referring to the go-ahead touchdown from quarterback Joe Montana to wide receiver John Taylor in the last minute of the game. "I will never forget that moment or feeling!"
That excitement and success continued on to the next season. The 49ers won Super Bowl XXIV to conclude the 1989 campaign, this time with a much larger margin of victory (55-10 over the Denver Broncos). Angela continued her administrative work in the pro scouting department, helping to build the teams of the 49ers dynasty. It was a role valued up to the highest levels of the organization.
"Bill Walsh had an all-staff meeting before the beginning of the new season," Angela recalled. "What really stuck with me was hearing him say we are all in this together—we are all working for the 49ers for the same reason."
The goal of coach Walsh and his staff was to win the Super Bowl every year. For that to happen, everyone had to work together and go above and beyond to help each other out. That level of commitment struck a chord with Angela.
"You should never think, 'that's not part of my job' when asked to do something that isn't in your usual scope of duties. If a coach or a player or an executive or a co-worker asks for help with something, go ahead and do your best to get it done. Be a team player."
Throughout her career with the 49ers, Angela has been a valued team player. She remained in pro scouting for another decade, eventually supporting Terry Donahue when he was Director of Pro Personnel during Bill Walsh's tenure as general manager. When Walsh retired in 2001, Donahue became the team's GM, and Angela became his Executive Administrative Assistant. Angela accumulated wisdom and experience that eventually allowed her to make the biggest leap of her career.
"I made a big change when I was offered the position as assistant to [49ers Co-Chair] John York and Public Relations Director Lisa Lang – a big, scary change for me – I was moving into a new world of football business, communications, and stadium campaign efforts, not to mention working for the owner of the team."
Angela has worked for the 49ers my entire tenure, most of which was as my associate. Over years, she became a trusted friend and ally, coordinating my work in Santa Clara at the 49ers headquarters, as well as working with our staff at the DeBartolo Corporation in our home town of Youngstown, Ohio. She is key in assisting my work with the 49ers Football Executives and Coaches, the 49ers Business Operations, Finance Department and Human Resources, and, very importantly, the 49ers Foundation and Community Relations. I am blessed to have such a faithful, dedicated and competent associate. John York, 49ers Owner/Co-Chairman
It was a challenge she met with aplomb. Today, she continues in her role as Executive Administrative Assistant, in addition to supporting current GM John Lynch and Executive Vice President Patty Inglis as needed. Angela also continues to lend her skills to the college and pro scouting departments, as she has done her entire career.
"They hold a special place in my heart as my first introduction to the 49ers and professional football. Even though I never dreamed of working in football, it has been more than I could have asked for—so many great people and great times. Each year is so different from the last; it just never gets old."