OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — One of the initial 35 faculty members at Johnson County Community College upon the school’s inception, Sonny Maynard’s story is a piece of Black history in the metro's backyard.
“I was an unknown commodity,” Maynard said while sitting midcourt at the school he helped shape. “In fact, they told me that when they hired me.”
Hired as the school’s first baseball coach in 1969, Maynard set out not only to break barriers but win games.
“I heard a lot about Johnson County, but I'd never been here before,” Maynard said. “There were not many minorities who lived in the area. We would drive down the street and every once in a while I said, ‘Well, there's one over there.'”
Cavaliers coach for 14 seasons, Maynard collected 504 wins and owns a .741 winning percentage with JCCC. Cavs baseball racked up championships in that time, amassing seven East Jayhawk Conference titles, four Eastern Sub-region titles, three Region VI titles and five national rankings, according to the school’s website.
Nineteen of his players were drafted by professional baseball teams.
“My thing to them was, yeah, there’s differences in people, but it's not color. And I believe that sincerely,” he said.
In 1986, Maynard stepped in as the Cavs women's basketball coach, inheriting a 0-26 team and winning 22 games in his first season. In all, Maynard coached six all-region and 10 all-conference performers as well as two All-Americans while posting a .728 winning percentage for the women’s hoops team, according to the JCCC athletics webpage.
“My dad was a trailblazer,” said Sonny’s son Alvin. “And the school, in general, was a trailblazer, too, by the fact that they were willing to hire a Black man during the time where Black people were fighting for their civil rights.”
His greatest accomplishment?
“I think inspiring others,” said Sonny Maynard, now 87 years old, retired and living in Olathe. “If you can show them just by your attitude and accomplishment, then this will be an example to them that maybe this isn't such a bad thing.”