Banks graduated from Syracuse University in 1909. There he lettered in football (1905–1908), basketball (1908–1909), and baseball (1909). Banks was an Honorable Mention All-American quarterback in 1908.
Banks became the 12th head football coach at Drake University located in Des Moines, Iowa and he held that position for three seasons, from 1918 until 1920. His overall coaching record at Drake was 11 wins, 10 losses, and 1 ties. This ranks him tenth at Drake in terms of total wins and 12th at Drake in terms of winning percentage. During his time at Drake, he was also the meet director for the (track and field) Drake Relays.
After coaching at Drake, Banks led the Tennessee Volunteers football team to a 27–15–3 record from 1921 to 192. He was the football coach at Tennessee when the iconic orange became the main color for Tennessee's athletic teams. Banks also coached baseball and basketball at Tennessee. In 1927, Banks left for Central High School in Knoxville. Banks coached at Knoxville Central from 1927 to 1930.
In 1941, Banks became the athletic director, basketball, football, and baseball coach at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. Under Banks, Hartwick's football team had their first two winning seasons. Banks coached at Hartwick until 1948 and remained athletic director at the school until his retirement in 1950.
In 1996, Banks was inducted into the Hartwick College Athletic Hall of Fame. The M. Beal (Pops) Banks Award at Hartwick is awarded annually to "individuals, male and female, who have best pursued excellence in their sport to the best of their ability and have enthused others with their dedication and commitment".
Banks was born on June 5, 1883 in Breesport, New York to parents David Thomas Banks (December 6, 1851 in Veteran, New York – December 1930 in Elmira, New York) and Emeline H. Parsons (December 25, 1852 in Catlin, New York – May 3, 1938 in Elmira, New York). Before attending Syracuse, Beal Banks graduated high school from the Elmira Free Academy in Elmira, New York. He married Gladys King (March 1888 – 1966) daughter of Rufus Everson King (July 15, 1859 – November 7, 1921) and Clara E. Ingersoll (June 1860 – ?) on October 29, 1910. Beal and Gladys had four children. Mark Beal Banks died January 12, 1970 in Parkersburg, West Virginia of a heart attack.