When the Furman basketball team next takes to the court, David ’55 and Carol Mauldin ’58 will be in the stands – just like they’ve been for nearly every Paladin home game since the 1950s.
“The reason we’ve been so involved in basketball is that it’s exciting, but mainly because we got to know the players,” David said. “We don’t have children of our own, but the players felt like they were family. We’ve stayed in touch with a lot of them. We’ve received invitations to lots of weddings and graduations.”
The Mauldins estimate they’ve attended more than 700 games.
David started attending basketball games in 1951 during his freshman year and didn’t miss one until after his graduation in 1955.
“There wasn’t that much to do in Greenville back then,” he said. “If you had seen the couple of movies playing downtown, you would either go to the basketball game or study, and we didn’t care about doing that all the time.”
Carol started attending Furman in 1954. The two met at a fraternity party and started dating. Some of their dates consisted of, you guessed it, attending a Furman basketball game. The couple recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.
The pair missed two years while David was in the service but resumed their basketball game attendance when they moved back to the Upstate in 1958. They’ve missed no more than 10 home games since, mostly for weather-related issues.
Gary Clark, a 1974 Furman graduate who played basketball for the Paladins and later served for 15 years as director of athletics, said the Mauldins’ most significant impact has been their one-on-one relationships with the players. The Mauldins were part of a group that hosted covered-dish dinners for the players twice a year. Carol organized the pot-lucks for more than 20 years before passing that responsibility to someone else last year.
“They were genuinely interested in our athletes. As a student, knowing somebody is in your corner means so much,” Clark said. “They’ve been steady supporters of Furman basketball and not all those years were good years competitively. But they were just as enthusiastic, just as supportive and just as consistent.”
At the next game, the Mauldins plan to be in their seats in the section directly behind the Furman bench.
In 2018, the couple were inducted into the Furman Athletic Hall of Fame, having been members of the Paladin Club for more than 40 years, served multiple terms on the Paladin Club Board of Directors, and assisted in almost every Paladin Club fundraising event over the years. Longtime members of the Order of the Paladin, the Paladin Club’s highest recognition level, they also made a gift to the football program in 2013 that resulted in the creation of “Mauldin Hall” within the Pearce-Horton Football Complex.