Maurice John (1919-1974)
Maurice E. John graduated from SSHS in 1937 where he played basketball and baseball. Following high school, “Maury” attended William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, obtained his Bachelor’s degree at Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, Missouri and finished with a Masters in Education at the University of Missouri. After coaching basketball at Moberly Junior College from 1946 to 1958 he then accepted the head coaching job at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in 1958. He led Drake to the 1969 Final Four where they gave powerhouse UCLA a scare, eventually losing by three points, then winning the consolation game to claim third place. In 1970 and 1971, he led the Drake team into the Elite Eight. He became known for his “belly-button” defense. His Drake coaching record was 211-131. In 1971, John became the Iowa State University head basketball coach until he died of cancer in October 1974. Maury is a member of the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame. He was MVC Coach of the year 4 times and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year in 1969. He was the SSHS All-Sports Banquet guest speaker in the spring of 1970.