Remembering Doug Maynard, a lacrosse pioneer and friend
This past August, Doug Maynard scored his last lacrosse goal. One of perhaps several thousand in his lifetime of lacrosse, it was scored while playing attack for the Cloudsplitters club team in the Ultra Grand Masters Division (55 and older) at the Summit Lacrosse Tournament in Lake Placid, N.Y., a tournament that Doug would play in annually dating back to 1991. Of course, no one knew it at the time or it would have been roundly celebrated in proper lacrosse fashion. Doug Maynard died a week ago Friday – he was 65 years old.
Doug is something of a lacrosse pioneer in New Hampshire. Raised in Wilton, Conn., he attended the Taft School where he played high school lacrosse. Upon graduating Taft, he attended Wesleyan University. In 1970, he was named first team college All-American as a midfielder. By 1976, Doug made his way to New Hampshire where he bought land in the town of Dunbarton and built his home from timber harvested off of the property. While relocating to New Hampshire, Doug brought with him his true love – the game of lacrosse. Back in the 1970s, lacrosse was a little-known sport in New Hampshire and club games were non-existent. This didn’t faze Doug; he would travel far and wide to get in a lacrosse game. He would even head north of the border to Canada to play some of the “box” version of the game he loved.
As the years went by, lacrosse became more commonplace in New Hampshire and Doug would play on club teams on the Seacoast and later, in the mid-1980s, as one of the original Concord Budmen. I met Doug in 1986. Having recently moved to New Hampshire, I stumbled upon a Budmen practice at Memorial Field. At that moment my softball career ended as I was drawn back onto the lacrosse field. I remember Doug was 38 at the time and pointing him out to my wife after one game I said, “Can you believe that guy is still playing at 38?!” Who knew that 27 years later Doug would still be playing and still be scoring goals and dishing assists?
Lacrosse would take Doug across the country and around the globe. He would grab his stick and strap on his helmet in places like Vail, Colo., Lake Placid, N.Y., Weston, Fla., and numerous other destinations up and down the East Coast. Over the years, Doug would also travel to Ontario, Canada, and London, England, to play in Federation of International Lacrosse-sponsored tournaments. There is no place Doug wouldn’t go to play in a game of lacrosse. His wife, Lorrie, knew this better than anyone. An unconfirmed rumor has it that before they were married in 1990, Doug told Lorrie that lacrosse was his first love and therefore would take precedence over their new union (the truth is that Doug worshiped the ground Lorrie walked on). Lorrie faithfully watched Doug perform on the field ever since. Doug possessed rare skill on the field and an infectious personality off of it, and along the way Doug made countless friends. Long after a game had finished, Doug could be found sharing a “few cold ones” with teammates and foes alike, recounting highlights and lowlights of the game. Finding Doug at these post-game communes was never difficult. Doug had a one-of-a-kind laugh that could best be described as a loud cackling sound and it could literally be heard within a hundred yards of its origin when Doug got going.
Of course, someone with Doug’s knowledge of lacrosse would be well suited to coach, and Doug did this also in New Hampshire. He was the head coach at New Hampshire College in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and later would coach Bishop Brady High School to its one and only state title in 1998. More recently, Doug helped lay the foundation for organized lacrosse in Hopkinton and has been the head coach at Hopkinton High School since 2006, leading them to a state title in 2011. Most recently, Hopkinton was undefeated before losing in the Division III title game last spring. Fittingly, Doug was honored as D-III Coach of the Year.
During a recent conversation with Doug, he told me that although he never thought it could happen, he now liked coaching as much or more than he liked playing. He obviously excelled at both. I used to always joke around with Doug that I couldn’t quit playing until he did because I’d be shamed. Others who played lacrosse with Doug and who knew him well would joke that Doug would die on the lacrosse field. Although that was not the fate that awaited Doug, one thing is for sure, Doug’s heart and soul can still be found there, on the field.
(Howard Roever is the boys’ lacrosse coach at John Stark Regional High School and a former teammate of Doug Maynard.)