Hitting The Ground Running

By Bonitta Best
Updated: May 6, 2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — WSSU head football coach Connell Maynor is a busy man these days.

On the job for less than four months, Maynor has wasted no time in returning the Rams to glory by assembling one of the nation’s most respected young coaching staffs, inking a 14-member recruiting class, completing a successful spring practice campaign and unveiling the 2010 schedule.

However, it may be Maynor’s time away from the Fieldhouse at Bowman Gray Stadium that speaks most to his true impact on the football program, university community and the city.

Maynor has re-energized the football program with his infectious enthusiasm and his dedication, yet it is his rarely-talked about presence in the community through his service initiatives that has ignited a spirit of giving back within the football student-athletes at WSSU.

“To whom much is given, much will be required,” Maynor said. “That is a something that we try to project upon our young men. That they are so very fortunate to be able to get a world-class education while playing a sport that they love, and that it is their responsibility as the future leaders of tomorrow to give back to their communities and especially to those less fortunate.

Since the completion of the Rams’ spring practice season, Maynor, his coaching staff and the football team have participated in more than a half-dozen community events.

The group participated in the Healthy Kids Day program at the Winston Lake YMCA, have been involved with the Black Leadership Program for high school students host by Mary Kay, have spoken to students at Griffith Academy, made appearances with the Winston-Salem Indians and the Tiny Rams of Winston-Salem, and spent nearly an entire day at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.

“We try to instill upon our student-athletes that greatness transcends the playing field. It is measured by our efforts in the classroom and in the community,” Maynor said.

“The true measure of greatness is in giving to others and our players have embraced that philosophy and they enjoy giving back.”

Last month, the Rams took time off from preparing for final exams to visit patients at Brenner Children’s Hospital in downtown Winston-Salem. The players spent time with many of the patients and the experience impacted not only the residents of the hospital but the athletes.

“It puts things in perspective for all of us. We realize how truly fortunate we are,” Maynor said. “If we can put a smile on the face of even one child, to make that child forget about the difficulties that they are experiencing, then that is the greatest achievement any of our young men could hope for.”

“That smile makes our young men champions in our community, and that is our true goal.”