Don Maynard was born on this day back in 1935. Happy 82nd Don! Maynard was a star at Texas Western, now UTEP. If you didn't know that nomenclature then get off the site. Never come back.
Maynard moved a lot as a kid. His dad was in the cotton business and as a result Maynard attended 13 schools before finally spending his senior year at Colorado City, the pride of Mitchell County, smack between Sweetwater and Big Spring. Maynard played one year of high school football, his senior season for Colorado City. Apparently that was plenty good enough to attract college attention.
Maynard actually played his first year of college at Rice before getting homesick and transferring out to El Paso. At Texas Western Maynard only caught 28 passes in his three season with the Miners but he averaged 27 yards a catch and had 10 touchdowns. As a running back Maynard had 843 yards at 5.4 yards a pop. Never one to take a snap off, Maynard also intercepted 10 passes as a defensive back. Maynard also ran track at Texas Western.
After his collegiate career Maynard was drafted by the New York Football Giants in the 9th round and played in the epic Giants/Colts NFL championship game in 1958. Still, but the 1959 season the Giants released Maynard and he spent one season playing the CFL for the Hamilton Tigercats. He caught one pass.
By 1960, the AFL was coming into existence and Maynard became the first player signed by the New York Titans, they later became the J-E-T-S JETS, JETS, JETS.
Maynard connected with form Alabama quarterback Joe Willy Namath and the rest was history. Namath and Maynard had a connection on the field that helped the Jets become the class of the AFL. He caught two touchdown passes in the AFL Championship game in 1968 against the Oakland Raiders including the game winner. The Jets beat the Colts in the first real upset of the Super Bowl era, though Maynard was limited in that game due to a hamstring injury he suffered early in the contest.
Maynard went on to become a 2 Time First Team All-AFL, and four time AFL All-Star. Maynard ended his career with 633 catches for an 18 yard per catch average. The highest average of any player in the history of professional football with 600 or more catches. He also caught 88 touchdowns.
For all that Maynard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton back in 1987.
After retiring from the game Maynard returned to El Paso where he went to work for an insurance company. He kept working their into the early 2000s. Happy Birthday Don!