|Connell Maynor is headed for Hampton after four seasons at Winston-Salem State. (WSSU/Garrett Garms photo)|
News of Connell Maynor’s hiring at Hampton University sent shockwaves through the HBCU sports world. Here are a couple of questions to ponder as Maynor moves on to the MEAC.
1. Can Maynor duplicate his success at the FCS level
Public opinion seems split on this. Some think Maynor’s success at WSSU was largely due to playing in a football conference that had a less-than-stellar level of competition overall. They also point to the fact he stocked his teams with former Division I players that would be unlikely to qualify or comply with the APR standards FCS schools face.
Connell Maynor leaving Winston-Salem State is major. If he’s going to Hampton, you might as well start raising more title flags down there.
— Serpentine Fire (@CJStarchild) December 17, 2013
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js I don’t buy that argument for several reasons. First, the MEAC isn’t that much better at the FCS level than the CIAA is at the Division II level. The conference hasn’t won a playoff game since 1999. The MEAC is not the SEC of FCS football. As for the transfer players, it’s true that Maynor will have to deal with more stringent academic standards at Hampton, don’t be surprised if he is able to lure FBS players who are looking for more playing time and want to play for a winner. He turned water to wine quickly at WSSU. It may not be as immediate at Hampton, but nothing I’ve seen in the MEAC would make me bet against Maynor turning that team around quickly.
2. Will WSSU fall off the map?
History says no. While Maynor took WSSU to places it had never been before, the school had seen some level of success prior to his arrival. Since Bill Hayes took over as coach in 1976, the Rams have never had back-to-back losing seasons at the Division II level. The last four coaches (Hayes, Pete Richardson, Kermit Blount and Maynor) have all won multiple CIAA championships.
So I asked Connell Maynor: “When is Hampton going to schedule WSSU in football?”…He was speechless for the first time ever….. #funny
— John Dell (@johndellWSJ) December 18, 2013
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js As long as Hayes is running the shop, you can bet WSSU will make a solid hire. It’s probably one of the better Division II jobs available, considering that the program has football facilities that rival many FCS programs. Don’t be surprised if they take a step or two back next year, but there is still plenty of talent left for whoever takes over at WSSU.
3. Will Bill Harvey let Maynor run his program?
Hampton President William Harvey is often credited as one of the best minds in HBCU history. Hampton has improved leaps and bounds athletically since he took over the school over 30 years ago. That attention to detail and hands-on approach has earned him a comparison by some to overzealous Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
In addition to Maynor’s abilities as a coach, he’s also about as charismatic as they come. It won’t be long before he has a following in Hampton, provided he wins. Will their be enough room on the Peninsula for both Maynor and Harvey? Only time will tell.