Man of the Year
The word dynasty is not used amply in the world of sports. With only three seasons under his belt as Winston-Salem State’s head football coach, Connell Maynor and that word have been linked often and with regularity.
Such talk can only be expected. Back-to-back perfect regular seasons; two CIAA championship crowns; and consecutive DII national championship runs have put Maynor and his Rams in a league all their own.
But the sky didn’t always appear to be the limit for the Rams. When Maynor was selected for the job in 2010 from more than 75 applicants, Ram Pride was fleeting, as was the football program’s chances of reclaiming glory.
Maynor was well aware of those glory days. He was a Ram briefly, leading the team as quarterback to the CIAA championship in 1987. After his sophomore year, he followed Head Coach Bill Hayes to N.C. A&T, where he would rack-up even more honors and pass for more than 3,200 yards and 34 touchdowns during his junior and senior seasons.
His trophy case reached capacity after a dozen years of stellar play in the Arena Football League. Destiny would reunite Hayes and Maynor under the Red and White WSSU banner. Hayes, now the school’s athletic director, snatched his former standout from the Fayetteville State coaching staff and gave Maynor the leeway and support to make history.
For Maynor, greatness is a long road that has no end in sight. He’s spent scant time resting on his monumental laurels to instead focus on bettering his program and his players.
Maynor and his wife have just one child, but he makes it clear that his players are his kids too. While we all cheered the team in December as it stood a heartbeat away from a Division II National title, the coach was equally as proud when the names of nearly half of his players appeared on the Dean’s List. Maynor pushes his guys to be engaged. He and his players often speak to grade-school kids and take part in community service projects.
In a few weeks, 21 of Maynor’s kids will receive their college degrees. Their departure means the coach will face the challenge of rebuilding a program that he has so expertly guided. But Maynor is no novice when it comes to obstacles. Despite his decades of athletic prowess, few believed the young coach could turn around a program so quickly and in such a grand manner.
Maynor has made us all believers and ushered in an unprecedented wave of Ram Pride. For this and so much more, The Chronicle and the community it serves are proud to call Coach Connell Maynor our Man of the Year.