Guilford Icon Stuart ‘Rock’ Maynard Dies
Stuart “Rock” Maynard ’43, head baseball coach at Guilford College from 1952-84 and mentor to countless students, died Wednesday at his Greensboro home. He was 94.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. April 13 at New Garden Friends Meeting. Those who knew Stuart are invited to share memories on the Guilford College Facebook page.
Stuart served his alma mater for 33 years in a number of roles, including athletics director, director of physical education and head football coach. His teams enjoyed success on the field, but he was best known for his caring leadership.
Stuart became a mentor to Gary York ’65, then a first-year Guilford student and member of the football team, in 1961. Homesick and afraid of failure, Gary considered quitting college. After hearing words of encouragement from Stuart, however, he unpacked his suitcase.
“Coach changed my life – possibly saved it,” Gary, a former trustee, said last year. “He’s my role model and hero.”
Stuart also made a permanent impression on Randy Doss ’82, who played baseball. “The man so many of us referred to as ‘The Rock’ was a teacher, coach, mentor and friend for generations of Guilford students,” Randy said.
Born April 12, 1918, Stuart was raised in Harnett County, N.C., where he grew up on a farm in the midst of the Great Depression. His education was interrupted as he worked with his siblings in an unsuccessful effort to save the family farm.
The Maynards moved to Dunn, N.C., where Stuart and the other children returned to school. His high school football coach recommended he continue his education and playing career at Guilford, so he boarded a train for Greensboro in 1940 with $2.75 in his pocket and a note from Quakers’ football coach Block Smith, a man he had never met.
The note said Block would help Stuart get through his first semester and what time to meet him at the train station. Stuart signed an IOU for his second semester and worked throughout the year to earn his tuition. He continued this practice until he graduated debt free in 1943.
In addition to working on campus and making good grades, he excelled on the baseball and football fields. He captained both teams in 1942 and was named the school’s Best Senior Athlete. After graduation he married his college sweetheart, Ruth Weisgerber ’43, and served two years as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, where he earned his famous nickname. Stuart started coaching at Williamston (N.C.) High School in 1947 and took the football team to the 1950 1A state title.
The following year, he accepted President Clyde Milner’s invitation to return to his alma mater as athletics director, director of physical education, head football coach and head baseball coach.
Herb Appenzeller arrived in 1956 as head football coach and athletic director, but Stuart stayed on the football staff as one of Herb’s assistants for six years. He remained the director of physical education for 21 years and maintained a full teaching load, earning his master’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill largely by taking summer classes.
His baseball teams enjoyed unprecedented success in the 1960s, which resulted in numerous team and personal awards. He was named the NAIA National Baseball Coach of the Year after guiding the 1966 Quakers to 25 wins and the school’s first NAIA Baseball World Series berth. He earned the Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year Award a year later and won four District 26 Coach of the Year prizes in his career. Guilford returned to the NAIA World Series in 1976, which led to his receipt of the Professional Baseball Scouting Association’s Coach of the Year Award.
A member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, Stuart was inducted to the Guilford College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He coached 11 Guilford students who signed professional baseball contracts and three All-Americans. The baseball team was 436-394-4 in his 33-year tenure, which ended with his retirement in 1984. He holds Guilford records for most baseball coaching wins and years of service.
He received the 2006 Charles C. Hendricks Distinguished Service Award from Guilford’s Alumni Association, which also presented him with its Alumni Excellence Award in 1982. Guilford dedicated the Maynard Batting Center on campus in April 2010 and installed “Rock’s Rock” nearby to honor the coaching great. Students honor the former coach and teacher when they touch the rock upon entering and exiting the Armfield Athletic Center.
Stuart is survived by his wife of 69 years and the couple’s five children: Marcella “Molly” Maynard, Stuart Tyrus “Rusty” Maynard, Jr. ’68, (wife Karen), William R. “Bill” Maynard, Linda L. Maynard, and Andrew Thomas Maynard ’82 (wife Amy). Other survivors include his grandson, Stuart Tyrus Maynard, son of William, and brother, Lonnie Maynard, Jr., of Dunn, N.C., as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
In place of flowers, the family requests contributions to a favorite charity; Guilford College, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro, N.C. 27410; or New Garden Friends Meeting, 801 New Garden Road, Greensboro, N.C. 27410.