There is a new generation of HBCU apologists who don’t understand that in the beginning the schools were known and athletically respected Black Colleges. They were already making history one day, or in this case, one game at a time.
For nearly 30 years Connell Maynor has been making history one championship at a time.
Maynor was unofficially given the mythical Black College Seal of Approval when he led Alabama A&M to the 2020 Southwestern Athletic Conference [SWAC] football championship.
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) May 1, 2021
It took the SWAC three years to learn what those HBCU sports aficionados from the east side of the Mississippi knew for more than a decade. This HBCU Lifer can really coach…REALLY!
The Alabama A&M head coach is a fiery competitor who speaks softly but talks trash with the best of them. With his first SWAC title, Maynor made a statement that is Hall of Fame – worthy.
He has now won championships in three of four HBCU conferences as a player or coach, something only former N.C. Central, Grambling, and N.C. A&T Coach Rod Broadway has done in the modern era of the African American national pastime.
AAMU 52 JSU 43
“Coach Sanders says he wants to see some dogs. Well, I’m about to turn some Bulldogs loose on him.” – Connell Maynor
Congratulations and safe travels back to “The Hill!” pic.twitter.com/YUU03P876i
— Alabama A&M University (@aamuedu) April 10, 2021
Real Black College Football historians could make a rather compelling argument that since Alabama A&M was once one of the charter members of the SIAC – when John Stallworth played there – that Maynor now has completed the HBCU Football Grand Slam.
It’s not quite the Serena or Tiger slam but to many people, it’s more important.
As a player, he led Winston-Salem State to the CIAA championship as an all-conference quarterback.
After transferring to North Carolina A&T he added to the collection of bling with another MEAC title as a player, already earning his place in the conference’s Hall Of Fame. Maynor went back to WSSU and began his legendary status on the sidelines winning three more CIAA titles and taking his team to the 2011 NCAA Division II championship game.
In an era of new jack athletic directors hiring former NFL coaches with big names and bombastic personalities to make a splash, Maynor is a throwback.
He has won in spite of resources and continues barnstorming his way to glory. His former college coach Bill Hayes once said that “[Black College] coaches “dollar for dollar do the best job of coaching in America. Maynor is an understated maverick like former Raiders owner Al Davis whose theory was simple “Just Win” Baby”.
When he recruits – or enters the NCAA portal these days – and tells a prospects that he went through the same experiences they will face, there are plenty of grainy VHS cassette tapes of his exploits under center and outside the pocket that underscore his story better than any coaching sales pitch.
Even without Jackson State “Coach Prime” Deion Sanders in the house there were fireworks at the spring edition of the Southwestern Athletic Conference from the start. Alabama A&M and Arkansas Pine Bluff gripped America with a well-played intense title game.
Maynor put his latest understudy at quarterback Aqueel Glass in a position to give him the confidence to win in his first SWAC Championship Game against Arkansas Pine Bluff. The completion on the game’s first offensive play to Zabrian Moore for 54 yards would only lead to a field goal but set the tone.
Glass finished the game 24 of 45 for 271 yards 3 TD and one interception. Moreover, he made championship throws when they counted and critical rushes that moved the chains. The top returning FCS quarterback this Fall played like a reincarnation of his coach back in the day and it led to a championship victory.
Maynor has been a part of dynastic programs as a player and a coach and could be on the verge of another at Alabama A&M. There is no dearth of facilities or passion in their fan base. The Bulldogs will be favored to win the SWAC title when the fall season kicks off Labor Day Weekend.
However, if Maynor never wins another game or championship he’s earned his place in Black College Football history. He is more than worthy to be in the Hall of Fame. While his name or brand doesn’t move the needles, his body of work screams Hall of Fame.
Maynor’s argument is pounding on that door in Canton with the rhythm of the snares in Drumline. It’s time for that door to open now.
There should be a bust heading to the artist for a rendering of the next great Black College Football Hall of Famer bearing the inscription that reads: “Connell Maynor…HBCU For Life.”
Cutline: Alabama A&M head coach Connell Maynor won his first SWAC Football Championship solidifying his place as a Black College Football Hall of Famer on May 1st.