Black History Month: The legendary coaching career of Sonny Maynard
In celebration of Black History Month, the Johnson County Museum is exploring the history of a local sporting great. Sonny Maynard was a coaching legend across several sports at Johnson County Community College.
Explore more black history by reading these Black History Month articles about other figures who played a role in Johnson County history:
- When George Washington Carver came to Olathe
- Corinthian Nutter and the integration of Johnson County schools
- Luella Johnson and the struggle for equality
- The McCallops' community legacy
Hired as JCCC’s first baseball coach in 1969, Sonny Maynard set out not only to break racial barriers but win games. He did both in coaching the Cavaliers.
Maynard was the first Black coach at JCCC which was also officially established in 1969 as the first new college recommended for creation under the Kansas Community Junior College Act of 1965. A special countywide election was held in March 1967, and the proposed community college was approved by a 3-1 majority. Six trustees were elected in 1967.
In 1969, county residents voted approval of $12.9 million in general obligation bonds to purchase more than 200 acres in Overland Park for a college campus. The first JCCC classes were conducted in leased facilities in Merriam that fall. Three years later, in the fall of 1972, classes and all operations were moved to the permanent campus at College Boulevard and Quivira Road.
As JCCC grew in enrollment and expanded academically, Maynard enjoyed great success as the Cavaliers baseball coach for 14 seasons. During that time, he collected 504 wins with a .741 winning percentage at JCCC. He never finished with a percentage below .600.
The JCCC baseball team amassed seven East Jayhawk Conference titles, four Eastern Sub-region titles, three Region VI titles and five national rankings. Nineteen of his players were drafted by professional baseball teams.
Maynard tutored five All-Americans and 36 All-Region VI performers. In the summer of 1980, he was selected by the United States Baseball Federation as one of the coaches for the Japan-USA All-Star Series. The USA team lost the first game but won six straight for the championship.
His baseball teams averaged 36 wins per season. During five of his 14 seasons, Maynard led JCCC to 40 or more wins, including a school record 48 in 1985. He also was an assistant men’s basketball coach from 1969 to 1973.
In 1986, Maynard became the JCCC women's basketball coach, inheriting a 0-26 team and generated the largest turnaround in Jayhawk Conference history. In his first year, his team ended the season 22-10 and finished second in the conference. In his second year, he led JCCC to a school record 25-7 record and another runner-up finish in the conference.
Maynard also coached All-American Lisa Kirby, one of the top scorers in NJCAA history, and All-American Melissa Grider, along with six all-region and 10 all-conference performers.
After the 1988 season, he stepped down from JCCC coaching while posting a .728 winning percentage for the women’s basketball team.
The JCCC Athletic Hall of Fame was instituted in 1992. Coach Sonny Maynard was one of the first two inductees.