Adams: It's a Majors obstacle for Hall

Johnny Majors is an underdog again.

He was an underdog in the late 1960s when he became the football coach at Iowa State. He was an underdog in the early 1970s when he became the football coach at the University of Pittsburgh.

Now, he's an underdog for the College Football Hall of Fame. But there's not a lot he can do about it.

He can't rebuild his resume the way he did football programs at Iowa State, Pitt and Tennessee. The resume is complete. And it's worthy of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Dick Williams thinks so, too. The difference is he can do something about it.

Williams, who is the president of the local chapter of the National Football Foundation, knows what he's up against.

"We've tried in previous years and not gotten anywhere with it," Williams said. "Now, we've put a nomination package together."

The obstacles are imposing as ever, however. First, according to Williams, there's sentiment among the voters against double inductions.

As an All-American tailback at UT in the 1950s, Majors is already in the Hall as a player. Only three people have made the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and coach. Former UT player and coach Bowden Wyatt is one.

Bobby Dodd, who played quarterback at UT and was a successful coach at Georgia Tech, is another. Amos Alonzo Stagg is the third.

Majors' winning percentage also works against him with the Hall, which will select its new inductees in a couple of months. One of the requirements for the Hall is a .600 winning percentage. Since Majors' percentage falls just shy of that, his nomination will have to be navigated through a couple of committees, one of which is set up to handle special cases.

Majors' case is special because of where he coached. In all four of his coaching stints, including two at Pitt, he took over programs which were either down or way down.

Iowa State had suffered losing seasons in 16 of 19 seasons prior to Majors' arrival. His 1971 team went 8-4, losing three of the games to the top three teams in the country. Only one other Iowa State team has won more games.

Pittsburgh's program was just as bleak when Majors assumed command in 1973. Prior to his arrival, the Panthers had won 22 games in seven seasons. Majors' fourth Pitt team, which included Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, was an unbeaten national champion.

UT football also was at a low ebb when Majors took over. His fifth team won eight games. In the next 11 seasons, UT had one losing season and won three SEC championships.

In making a case for Majors, Williams said he took off the wins and losses in the first two years at each of his coaching stints. The subtraction left Majors with a winning percentage to .615.

Maybe that will resonate with the College Football Hall of Fame's Veteran Committee. After all, what's a greater testament to one's coaching ability than turning a down program right-side up? And few programs were as down as Iowa State or Pitt.

Majors didn't just build a national championship team at Pitt. He built a dominant team. No one came closer than 10 points to Pitt in 1976. The Panthers capped their perfect season with a 27-3 rout of SEC champion Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

A hall of fame ultimately should reflect outstanding achievement. Majors should be rewarded, not penalized, for having succeeded at such a high level as both a player and coach.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier already has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player. How could you possibly not induct him as a coach as well? He won a national championship and dominated the SEC in the 1990s as the head coach at Florida.

He belongs in the Hall as both a player and coach. And so does Majors.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 51

OldSmokey writes:

Give it to him already he deserves it.

BigDaddyVol writes:

Johnny Majors is a Hall of Famer. Lets hope they get it right.The man coached Tony D. and Reggie W. Its late in the game Johnny, go to the "claw". You have to be a true fan to get that one.

dvols writes:

cancel all hall of fames! change is upon us!

FWBVol writes:

"In making a case for Majors, Williams said he took off the wins and losses in the first two years at each of his coaching stints. The subtraction left Majors with a winning percentage to .615."

While Williams is trying to use this to make a case for Johnny Majors, it could work against him. You take away eight of the worst teams he had as a coach and Johnny's winning percentage is still barely over the .600 percent requirement.

I don't know whether Johnny belongs in the Hall as a coach or not. I'll leave that for others to debate.

OldSmokey writes:

in response to FWBVol:

"In making a case for Majors, Williams said he took off the wins and losses in the first two years at each of his coaching stints. The subtraction left Majors with a winning percentage to .615."

While Williams is trying to use this to make a case for Johnny Majors, it could work against him. You take away eight of the worst teams he had as a coach and Johnny's winning percentage is still barely over the .600 percent requirement.

I don't know whether Johnny belongs in the Hall as a coach or not. I'll leave that for others to debate.

Good point. But his job was pretty much stolen from him while he was recovering from a heart attack. And he he did great things here. As well at other schools.

Quote from Wikipedia.
University of Tennessee

At Tennessee, Majors achieved success in the 1980s and early 1990s winning three SEC Championships (in 1985, 1989 and 1990), but falling short of a National Championship. In 1989, the Majors-led Vols followed a 5–6 season with a 11–1 season, the largest turnaround of the year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_M...

BigDaddyVol writes:

Johnny may not have been the best Xs and Os coach of his era but the man knew football players. He had a great eye for talent and his players loved to play for him. Johnny done about everything on the field when he played and his players knew that. CJM also had an eye for coaching talent.

OldSmokey writes:

in response to BigDaddyVol:

Johnny may not have been the best Xs and Os coach of his era but the man knew football players. He had a great eye for talent and his players loved to play for him. Johnny done about everything on the field when he played and his players knew that. CJM also had an eye for coaching talent.

Well said BigDaddy.

BigDaddyVol writes:

in response to rabidvolfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think you hit the nail on the head. I agree Sir.

FWBVol writes:

in response to OldSmokey:

Good point. But his job was pretty much stolen from him while he was recovering from a heart attack. And he he did great things here. As well at other schools.

Quote from Wikipedia.
University of Tennessee

At Tennessee, Majors achieved success in the 1980s and early 1990s winning three SEC Championships (in 1985, 1989 and 1990), but falling short of a National Championship. In 1989, the Majors-led Vols followed a 5–6 season with a 11–1 season, the largest turnaround of the year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_M...

All of us have been hearing that Fulmer stole Johnny's job since 1992, and I'm still waiting for someone to come up and present the evidence.

Doug Dickey might be the only one that knows everything that happened to end the Majors era and start the Fulmer era.

Too many things happened that nobody can attribute to Fulmer, such as Tim Kerwin, Johnny's close friend and suddenly dying earlier that year. Or even the heart attack itself.

The truth is there was much of the same kind of discontent with Johnny in 1992 that there was with Fulmer in recent years. And Johnny didn't have a run of two losing seasons in four-year stretch.

It's funny that you cite Wikipedia and the 1988 and 1989 seasons because 1989 was the season Majors promoted Fulmer to offensive coordinator.

The fact is 1992 was a "Perfect Storm Year." I only wonder who would have been blamed if it had been someone other than Fulmer and the same thing went down. Would Johnny still be crying foul?

OldSmokey writes:

Well I didn't name no names, about who got the job. But since you brought it up. I've played golf with with Johnny. And have friends that play with him all the time. And I couldn't tell but 1 side of the story. But I do believe the side I've heard.

BillVol writes:

Who cares. He's in as a football player. I couldn't even make my high school team. He should be happy with what he has.

OldSmokey writes:

in response to BillVol:

Who cares. He's in as a football player. I couldn't even make my high school team. He should be happy with what he has.

I can understand where you are coming from. And I'm not saying he isn't happy. But I'm not, I think the man deserves it. Hell he got us 3 SEC Championships.

99gator writes:

now, i can see what some of y'all mean about adams.

i thought about spurrier when reading the article and the part where only 3 members were in as a player and coach.

but, i'm a gator and this article was about johnny majors.

there was no need to mention spurrier in this piece.

MidTennVol writes:

So, Adams, you suggest bending the rules for extenuating circumstances? Majors doesn't meet one of the requirements but you suggest just kind of ignoring that requirement?

I wouldn't want that even if John Majors was my son.

dvhill100 writes:

As I understood it at the time, there were three things that led to JM's downfall:
1. He had a problem with alcohol and it was effecting his performance.
2. He couldn't beat Alabama.
3. He was pushing for a raise in a less than polite manner and couldn't beat Alabama.

Having said that, the truth usually lies somewhere between the two sides of any disagreement.

CrankE writes:

It just wouldn't be an Adams column if he didn't find a way to get in bed with a Gator.

hilltopper writes:

Coach Majors did great at times but down right horrible at others The 1986 team was loaded with talent and won the title The Flop of The Year by Sports Illustrated. One good year then a bad year then a good year then a mediocre year, The win percentage says volumes. One Great team in Pitt. He did not build UT into what it was. Every year was a rebuilding year to hear him tell it. Never got there. I hate that he got hurt by his firing but he brought that upon himself and if he had been at another major football program he would not have lasted half as long as he did at UT. Fulmer did a far better job until the last three years. IN fact as far as consistency he was far better. Now if they want to put Majors in for his job at Iowa State and Pitt he may be deserving but he sure as dickens doesnt warrant introduction into the hall for his coaching at UT. No way, no how

drwfocus#660070 writes:

in response to allVolinGA:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with that allVolinGA. And you have to admit Wyatt taught Johnny well in one thing!

Psychovol writes:

It's Paul Horning all over again.

theoldbear writes:

Is Johnny Majors in the same class as Bobby Dodd, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and Bowden Wyatt? The question that occurs to me is how did Bowden Wyatt get to be in the same class with Bobby Dodd and Amos Alonzo Stagg? I remember Bowden Wyatt as a coach, and while he had some good teams, I don't recall any national championships, or really that many bowl games. Wasn't General Neyland still coaching when the 1951 team won the national title?

If the Hall of Fame requires a 60% winning percentage to get in, and Johnny Majors doesn't have a 60% winning percentage, that's should settle it.

I've visited several halls of fame, and am always surpised at some of the folks who are in, and at some of the folks that aren't. I still think it is wrong that Roger Maris isn't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I agree that Pete Rose doesn't belong there.

Johnny Majors, as great a guy, as great a player, as good a coach, as he was, and is, does not meet the minimum standards for admission. I suspect if he hadn't gone back to Pittsburgh for his swan song, his percentage might be high enough. It is sad, but that is the way it is.

leedsvol2007 writes:

in response to hilltopper:

Coach Majors did great at times but down right horrible at others The 1986 team was loaded with talent and won the title The Flop of The Year by Sports Illustrated. One good year then a bad year then a good year then a mediocre year, The win percentage says volumes. One Great team in Pitt. He did not build UT into what it was. Every year was a rebuilding year to hear him tell it. Never got there. I hate that he got hurt by his firing but he brought that upon himself and if he had been at another major football program he would not have lasted half as long as he did at UT. Fulmer did a far better job until the last three years. IN fact as far as consistency he was far better. Now if they want to put Majors in for his job at Iowa State and Pitt he may be deserving but he sure as dickens doesnt warrant introduction into the hall for his coaching at UT. No way, no how

In my mind the 80 and 86 Vol teams were two of the most disappointing but not due to coaching but instead because of injury.

The 86 team started 2-5 and finished 7-5 beating Lou Holtz's Minnesota team in the Liberty Bowl. Against Alabama as I recall every starting defensive linemen and a couple of back-ups were out with injuries. I remember Robby Scott coming off the bench and playing with a cast on his leg in the 2nd half of that game.

When they got healthier and moved Tracy Hayworth in as a starter they improved dramatically.

I think if you look at the way Majors built the programs Adams mentioned, the fact that he recognized and helped develop a tremendous list of assistants who became head coaches, and had numerous All Americans you have to say he qualifies as a hall of fame coach.

If he has a flaw he is a little too contentious and that is what lead to his downfall at Tennessee not his coaching ability.

The last 3 full years he coached at Tennesse his teams were a combined 29-6-2 with wins in the Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

There are far lesser coaches in the Hall of Fame.

Go4Two writes:

Not many coaches have a team go 13-0 and win the NC. Not Spurrier, No Urban, Bowden NOT...Lou nope just to name a few.

drum45 writes:

Johnny Majors IS TENNESSEE FOOTBALL!!!!!

drwfocus#660070 writes:

in response to leedsvol2007:

In my mind the 80 and 86 Vol teams were two of the most disappointing but not due to coaching but instead because of injury.

The 86 team started 2-5 and finished 7-5 beating Lou Holtz's Minnesota team in the Liberty Bowl. Against Alabama as I recall every starting defensive linemen and a couple of back-ups were out with injuries. I remember Robby Scott coming off the bench and playing with a cast on his leg in the 2nd half of that game.

When they got healthier and moved Tracy Hayworth in as a starter they improved dramatically.

I think if you look at the way Majors built the programs Adams mentioned, the fact that he recognized and helped develop a tremendous list of assistants who became head coaches, and had numerous All Americans you have to say he qualifies as a hall of fame coach.

If he has a flaw he is a little too contentious and that is what lead to his downfall at Tennessee not his coaching ability.

The last 3 full years he coached at Tennesse his teams were a combined 29-6-2 with wins in the Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

There are far lesser coaches in the Hall of Fame.

"If he has a flaw he is a little too contentious and that is what lead to his downfall at Tennessee not his coaching ability."

Agreed as to coaching ability. But, IF, he could have kept his drinking under control (thanks Wyatt) and been able to show his assistants a bit of courtesy and respect there may have never been a Phil Fulmer.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volster:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Condredge Holloway WILLED UT to several victories they would not have had under Battle. And just as was the case with the later Fulmer, Battle struggled with our major rivals. Majors' early record at UT reflected how bare was the cupboard Battle left for him. I have always had mixed feelings about Majors but I would like to see him in the Hall as a coach. For that matter, I hope ex-CPF gets in when he is eligible. I think both Majors and Fulmer had to go when they did, but both did great things for UT and for college football, IMHO.

TrouserCough writes:

Majors is arrogant and bitter. I was at UT from '78 through '84 and believe me, he was no Hall of Fame coach. This is a joke.

Volunatic writes:

in response to OldSmokey:

Good point. But his job was pretty much stolen from him while he was recovering from a heart attack. And he he did great things here. As well at other schools.

Quote from Wikipedia.
University of Tennessee

At Tennessee, Majors achieved success in the 1980s and early 1990s winning three SEC Championships (in 1985, 1989 and 1990), but falling short of a National Championship. In 1989, the Majors-led Vols followed a 5–6 season with a 11–1 season, the largest turnaround of the year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_M...

No, he recovered from the heart attack, and came back just in time to lose to Arkansas. And bama. And South Carolina. (You know, all of the three games UT lost in '92.)
Then he demanded more money at a time when UT was in a budget crunch. Then he skipped several events that were important to major boosters, like speaking at the Knoxville QB Club.
His job was not "stolen". It takes some serious revision of history to see it that way.

Volunatic writes:

in response to TrouserCough:

Majors is arrogant and bitter. I was at UT from '78 through '84 and believe me, he was no Hall of Fame coach. This is a joke.

I like your posting moniker.

uwishuwereassmartasme (Inactive) writes:

Majors was a good coach, possibly a great coach at times, but not a hall of fame coach.

I still can't believe that some people continue to perpetuate the myth of Majors rebuilding Tennessee. He only rebuilt what he destroyed. Battle's last four years, he won 8,7,7, and 6 games. Majors first four years, we won 4,5,7 and 5 games, before finally reaching 8 wins in year five. He did eventually get the Tennessee program to an elite level, but he royally screwed it up first. I sat through a lot of really terrible losses.

99gator writes:

in response to Go4Two:

Not many coaches have a team go 13-0 and win the NC. Not Spurrier, No Urban, Bowden NOT...Lou nope just to name a few.

i don't know how many games they won in those seasons.....but, lou holtz and bobby bowden have undefeated national championship seasons (1988 for holtz, 1999 for bowden)

i don't know enough about johnny majors as a coach.....but, a national title is a national title.

i am always amzed tom flores (former raiders coach) is not in the pro football hall of fame. you win more than one super bowl.....that should qualify.

SewaneeTiger writes:

I thought he was a good coach. I think the style of play changed by the time he... departed.

I like the idea of having firm stds for something like a HOF, but a flat % of wins entry threshold w/o taking into consideration the opponents/obstacles a coach faced is not necessarily a balanced approach to assessing that coach's ability/merits.

Consideration is probably warranted given his entire career. Seems he did turn programs around - made them successsful.

Not every good coach is as good as others in all facets of the job . Some are motivators, some are talent finders, administrators, Xs & Os, some have the whole package, etc.

kb7398#233189 writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lane Kiffin will be out the door in two years...by his own volition or by force. You wolves in sheeps' clothing don't have an inkling of a clue. We're going to be lucky to win the games we're "supposed" to win the next two seasons.

Fulmer is the only other coach in UT history other than Bob Neyland that should be in the HOF as a coach. Johnny needs to quit his crying and you Majors' lovers need to stop defending the old drunken has-been. He tarnishes his legend as a player every time he opens his mouth.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to OldSmokey:

Good point. But his job was pretty much stolen from him while he was recovering from a heart attack. And he he did great things here. As well at other schools.

Quote from Wikipedia.
University of Tennessee

At Tennessee, Majors achieved success in the 1980s and early 1990s winning three SEC Championships (in 1985, 1989 and 1990), but falling short of a National Championship. In 1989, the Majors-led Vols followed a 5–6 season with a 11–1 season, the largest turnaround of the year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_M...

If it had not been for that dang Utah pass in the 3rd quarter against Bama, we would have gone 12-0 and won the NC in 89.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to WhitePineVol2nd:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He was a little prone to having a tad too much whiskey and spouting off the wrong way, at the wrong time in front of the wrong people...kinda like President Peterson's wife...hey it happens...lol

main reason he lost his job, along with those 3 losses in a row when we had the east wrapped up,and his arrogance in dealing with Dickey over his contract...and that little bit during the halftime of the penn state fiesta bowl - but hey, who wants to go there...

but mainly...a great coach...great lineage...Shirley Majors put southern football on the map and made it a marketable commodity before its time...a man who loved tennessee as did his brothers. also a man who loves his liquor just a little too much.

what he did at iowa state and pitt was amazing...he was never consistent at tennessee...win a huge one, lose a stupid one the next week, or vice versa...remember losing to rutgers and then turning around and pounding notre dame.

but he had some highlights that were unique to his style of coaching and mentoring...the miami win in the sugar bowl and the comeback win against notre dame are two that i'm not sure any other coach could have pulled off, or handled afterward with the same sort of humble, almost aristocratic, statesmanlike tact...many of us will never forget that hug Tim (RIP) gave him on the sideline after that field goal...and i'll never forget being on the sideline during the 82 bama game and running out with the players, jumping on their shoulders to see him shake paul bryant's hand...nor that speach he gave on the strip afterword, up on sam and andy's...special day.

in the end though his demon's got the better of him, his habits, his prejudices...do they disqualify him from the hall...nah,they shouldn't...he was a special coach...an iconic coach. that is what should be in the hall of fame.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to WhitePineVol2nd:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

your right, he lost and won with a grace you don't see as much today as you'd like.

as for the Fulmer stuff...I think others "whined" for him more than he did himself...but even when he might have said something he shouldn't elsewhere, he always showed class, pride and character on gameday

HtownVol writes:

in response to kb7398#233189:

Lane Kiffin will be out the door in two years...by his own volition or by force. You wolves in sheeps' clothing don't have an inkling of a clue. We're going to be lucky to win the games we're "supposed" to win the next two seasons.

Fulmer is the only other coach in UT history other than Bob Neyland that should be in the HOF as a coach. Johnny needs to quit his crying and you Majors' lovers need to stop defending the old drunken has-been. He tarnishes his legend as a player every time he opens his mouth.

Hey, I think that KB7398 is Fulmer. If not he sure is a major CPF supporter. How are you so sure CLK is a bad coach? The players seem to be excited about him. We all know he was a great OC at USC. Dont tell me he has not proven himself. Every coach has to start somewhere. I dont think he was so bad in Oakland. I watched a lot of their games and they were very competative (most games). So every time I hear this about Kiffin wont win so many games, I wonder what idiot can say this? I want to hear facts as to why he can not win in the SEC.

Sorry to get off topic. I am only 25. Didnt see Majors too much.

All UT fans need to support Kiffin. He has a chance to build UT to a championship team. He can do it, and they need fans to support them. So if you are a real fan, get behind your team. Negativity will only hurt, why not support your team? Just see where it gets us. Its good to be a VOL!

spvol writes:

If you want to make a case for Majors, just put twenty-four bottles in a cardboard box.

Seriouslyorange writes:

I was informed by a very prominent board of trustees member that CJM did himself in largely that he was out of line during the last Big Orange Caravan he went on. This was complaining about his salary at every stop not heeding sincere advice from a trustee in Nashville, very influential, who begged him to not take that road.
Let it go, this is not the time or place to be saying this.
But CJM was not easily deterred and his record and his alledged drinking did him in. Blame CPF if you will but the die was already cast.IMO

ScoobyDoo writes:

Put him in. 3 SEC championships, a national championship, and rebuilt programs everywhere he went. Plus, his coaching tree is pretty impressive too.

UT should also retire his number, since they do that now (although I liked the tradition of having only those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war getting that honor, and would rather have UT implement a "ring of honor" type of thing).

deakinbi writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We'll see how many games CLK wins, how many SEC East titles , SEC and National Championships...our previous 2 coaches had done all those things and both were given the boot by the AD...and both were 3 decades + Vols...what does that mean for CLK?

In my opinion the FOOLS have been the AD's...and people who treat Johnny and Phillip so poorly...give it a rest...It getting really old.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I AGREE!!! And in that spirit, I think we should forgive Fulmer for those Florida losses, after all you can hardly fault him for losing to Spurrier and Meyer and their National Championship "type" teams of the 90s and 00s. And while we are dissing Fulmer for beating probation struck Bama teams, lets diss Johnny Walker Red Majors for beating that probation struck Florida team.

It all seems fair to me when ou're in the business of rationalizing things.

LargeOrange writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I think I am going to keep your post for later General, "Thank God for Lane Kiffin !". I can see after 4 straight losses to FL, AL, and GA and LSU if we meet them, a different tune from you and the other guys who hate CPF and have cloudy memories about CJM. As far a Johnny being in the HOF as a coach, I think his drinking and mouth got him fired not Fulmer as the conspiracy nuts believe, and he has come back now and continues to run his mouth trying to bash CPF as recently as yesterday on the Sports Animal radio. My lasting memories of Majors were losing to Alabama for more than a decade, punting on a third down, and watching the Johnny Majors show looking at his bourbon induced red nose and cheeks talking about how we lost the night before because the players failed to "execute". If he said it once he said it 100 times. Look at the facts, he only had a winning SEC record 7 of his 16 years at UT That is nine years of SEC mediocrity, we fired CPF for 2 losing seasons, go figure. HOF, no, shut up and act like some one who should be in the HOF, yes.

Moaninglikeheck writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For Kiffin, Layla, and little Knox's sake I CERTAINLY HOPE SO.

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to Moaninglikeheck:

I AGREE!!! And in that spirit, I think we should forgive Fulmer for those Florida losses, after all you can hardly fault him for losing to Spurrier and Meyer and their National Championship "type" teams of the 90s and 00s. And while we are dissing Fulmer for beating probation struck Bama teams, lets diss Johnny Walker Red Majors for beating that probation struck Florida team.

It all seems fair to me when ou're in the business of rationalizing things.

Majors was 1 and 4 vs Florida, Fulmer coached the 92 game.

leedsvol2007 writes:

in response to volster:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bill Battle took over a talent laden sophomore lead group in 1970. Doug Dickey had done his best recruiting just prior to leaving for Florida.

If you look at Battle's record the last 4 years he coached he went 8-4, 7-3-2,7-5 and 6-5. The program was in a complete downward spiral at the end of his coaching career.

Majors came in and got more money into the coffers, cajoled boosters into building our physical facilities 2nd to none, and eventually with the help of Fulmer, Brown, Mathews and Cutcliffe built the program back to national prominence.

During the 7 seasons you talk about in 1983 we were one game from winning the SEC championship and beat Maryland and Boomer Esiason/Frank Reich in the Citrus Bowl, won the SEC championhship in 1985 and foiled Miami's bid for a national championhship in the Sugar Bowl, and went 11-2-1 in 1987. Then after the 5-6 1988 season when we lost the first 6 games his teams through the first half of 1990 went 21- 1-2.

The rumors were he had drinking problems and was micro-manager but if you look at his overall record including his national championship at Pitt and success rebuilding 3 programs consecutively the man could coach. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame not only as a player but as a coach.

jack_2222#231746 writes:

Give ole Johnny a couple of shots of Jack Daniels and he'll tell you all about it.

LargeOrange writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

General, I can say without reservation, that I truly, sincerely, and absolutely hope that you are correct. I am far from a Kif hater. As I have said on here many times, I love the VOLS and I support all of them including the head coach, CLK is our coach now and deserves our support and has mine, just as CPF did. At Tennessee we have a lot going for us, facilities, money, usually a loyal and dependable fan base that will travel well (when we are winning) and a lot of tradition. CLK recognized that and also correctly identified the one area that we are the most at a disadvantage over our competition, the lack of a strong in state recruiting base. By recruiting a 5 star staff that are almost all recruiting specialists he may have put us into position to be able to compete on the Florida, Alabama, LSU, etc level again. So far he has done the right things IMO with the exception of the some of the Florida comments. The ribbing of Satan and Steve Superior were funny and showed some needed swagger, and if he had been right about the rules I would have been fine with the UM swipe, but that one was a little embarrassing. So now he has built a recruiting machine and set a new tone, I just hope he can build a team of players as impressive and back up his words on the field. If he does, there won't be a happier VOL in the stadium than ole "LargeO". I just hope that the long-term memory loss, fair weather, vicious, unrealistic vocal minority of our fans will give him the time it takes to get this done. Go Big Orange!

Moaninglikeheck writes:

In all seriousness, I'm going to set aside my opinion about Fulmer, Kiffin, Majors, and every other piece of the UT football saga for a minute and voice mu OBJECTIVE thoughts about the Majors induction nomination.

I was a young adult when the Majors firing went down, and honest to goodness my most vague rugrat memories of UT football include John Ward announcing Bill Battle led games and I was too young to understand or be a fan. I just knew my dad and uncle loved Tennessee ball and got excited on Fall Saturdays. My era as a fan is deinately defined by John Majors and Phil Fulmer.

I absolutely worshipped Johnny Majors. One of my prized childhood posessions was a gameday program with his picture, given to me by my father after a homecoming game. I remember this day well along with the excitement of getting to walk on the astroturf and see Majors up close. I was probably eight or nine.

But these are the fond memories of a local boy and Johnny Majors, while a Tennessee legend, isn't well known enough outside of the Southeast to really be HOF material.

My barometer for that is not scientific. I've never done a study or research. However, I have talked about JM to people in the Baton Rouge area and few know who I am talking about. Usually only avid SEC fans who are a generation older than I am recognize his name.

Yet, I could mention Vince Dooley, Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Bobby Dodd, or Pat Dye and even many youngsters recognize those names. And honestly, I'm sorry to say that even Robert Neyland's name is infrequently known and requires mentioning "Neyland Stadium" to jog most people's recollections (if that even does it).

Frankly, Johnny Majors didn't leave enough of a mark or footprint to be considered a legend as a coach on a national level.

Now, I'm not suggesting that this is enough reason or justification to not vote him in. I wouldn't erase Constantine from the history books on the basis that millions of people have no idea who he is despite owing much of modern civilization to his actions. I'm just stating the reality that Majors notoriety isn't far reaching.

Ralph_Crampton writes:

Guys, I hesitate to say anything not flattering about Johnny Drum...After all he was one of the few Vol players that ever became a household word in America...but the Volunteer program has never hired a coach with such backing and love from the fans. In his first 15 years, the Vols only were invited one major bowl...the Sugar bowl win against Miami....Most of his adoring fans refused to face the fact that he was just a medicore coach...Johnny it seemed detested recruiting. The Athletic Director at the time...Bob Woodruff... a pragmatic and cautious man, who had built teams at Baylor and Florida before coming to Tennessee...was not so sure. He was of the opinion that Majors was poor fit for the Vols' head coach. After observing the huge welcome Majors received from loving Vol fans and the media, Woodruff kept this feeling to himself. He even called press conference and sais " We expect to be playing championship football in the next two to three years" Woodruff remained silent and sort of in the background as the adoring Vol fans expected winning teams right off....Woodfuff was hoping he was wrong...but the sinking feeling he had was still there. It turned out that Woodruff was right on...Majors' Vol teams struggled at the start...but his beloved fans thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread...and continued to make excuses, like injuries, or he has not yey recruited "his players yet. The years went by and occasionally the Vols had winning seasons and went low-bottom bowl games...But with the exception 85, the Vols were never ranked until 15 years later..in 89. However even today many of the fans will tell you that Johnny never get his fair shot. Probanly few coaches ever had the devotion and backing of fans that Johnny had when he arrived at Tennessee. He is still beloved by many Vol fans.

FWBVol writes:

in response to Moaninglikeheck:

In all seriousness, I'm going to set aside my opinion about Fulmer, Kiffin, Majors, and every other piece of the UT football saga for a minute and voice mu OBJECTIVE thoughts about the Majors induction nomination.

I was a young adult when the Majors firing went down, and honest to goodness my most vague rugrat memories of UT football include John Ward announcing Bill Battle led games and I was too young to understand or be a fan. I just knew my dad and uncle loved Tennessee ball and got excited on Fall Saturdays. My era as a fan is deinately defined by John Majors and Phil Fulmer.

I absolutely worshipped Johnny Majors. One of my prized childhood posessions was a gameday program with his picture, given to me by my father after a homecoming game. I remember this day well along with the excitement of getting to walk on the astroturf and see Majors up close. I was probably eight or nine.

But these are the fond memories of a local boy and Johnny Majors, while a Tennessee legend, isn't well known enough outside of the Southeast to really be HOF material.

My barometer for that is not scientific. I've never done a study or research. However, I have talked about JM to people in the Baton Rouge area and few know who I am talking about. Usually only avid SEC fans who are a generation older than I am recognize his name.

Yet, I could mention Vince Dooley, Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Bobby Dodd, or Pat Dye and even many youngsters recognize those names. And honestly, I'm sorry to say that even Robert Neyland's name is infrequently known and requires mentioning "Neyland Stadium" to jog most people's recollections (if that even does it).

Frankly, Johnny Majors didn't leave enough of a mark or footprint to be considered a legend as a coach on a national level.

Now, I'm not suggesting that this is enough reason or justification to not vote him in. I wouldn't erase Constantine from the history books on the basis that millions of people have no idea who he is despite owing much of modern civilization to his actions. I'm just stating the reality that Majors notoriety isn't far reaching.

I have mixed emotions about Johnny Majors. He always seemed to have a chip on his shoulder about something. Even when I worked in UT sports info, he gave me the impression he was bitter, and didn't treat people the way most of us would want to be treated.

That said, I'm not going to say your straw poll as such was wrong, but Baton Rouge isn't exactly the end all place. If you were to go to Pittsburgh and the Pitt campus, they might have a different response to the name Johnny Majors. The same might be true at Iowa State where he enjoyed a certain amount of success.

I think there are a lot of great players and coaches that are adored by fans of certain teams that aren't recognized outside a certain area, or beyond a certain era.

Steve Garvey was a National League All-Star first baseman when I was growing up some 30 plus years ago. He was one of the best baseball players of his day...maybe not Hall of Fame caliber, but he played in a major market on great Dodger teams. I mentioned his name to some current high school athletes a few weeks ago, and they didn't have a clue about Garvey.

My point is, whether or not Johnny Majors has name recognition, is a shaky reason to keep him out of the hall and you pointed that out.

As I said in an early post, it is also shaky to take eight seasons (the first two at each stop) out of his coaching record and suddenly get him to a .615 winning percentage as those in this story suggested.

He's in as a player, and to me it isn't a big deal that he doesn't meet the standard as a coach. Love him or hate him, Johnny Majors will always be a Tennessee Legend.

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