Majors' respect for Dooley

Johnny Majors barely holds back the snicker to not insult the naive reporter standing before him.

The longtime Tennessee football coach just smiles, then names enough coaches that abruptly left one job for another to fill a notebook. Majors names coaches that bolted from one school to another all the way back to the 1911.

So, suffice it to say, Majors wasn’t stunned by Lane Kiffin’s decision to leave UT for Southern California in January.

“I wasn’t shocked,” said Majors, who publicly endorsed Kiffin during his tenure, which lasted just over 13 months. “I think he did a very good job when he was here. I’ll still say that. I think they had the program where they were getting ready to turn it around. Only time would tell.”

Majors, who coached the Vols from 1977-92, even went so far as to compare his career to Kiffin’s.

“I left Iowa State because I thought Pittsburgh was a better opportunity,” Majors said. “I loved Iowa State, but it’s a very challenging job to beat Oklahoma and Nebraska.”

The Vols face a similar challenge. Every season, they’ll face off against Alabama and Florida. Those two teams have won three of the last four national championships.

“Tennessee isn’t accustomed to a coach leaving on his own here,” Majors said. “This is a great job here (at UT).

“Southern Cal, there is not a greater job in the country as far as talent to recruit from in a close area. They’ve been outstanding since the early part of the last century.”

The last century is the last time UT competed for a national championship. The Vols have had two losing seasons since 2005 and have now turned to former Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley to rebuild a once-elite program.

Majors knows what Dooley is facing.

“This was a tough rebuilding job,” Majors said, referring to when he accepted the head coaching job at UT after the Vols had only won 20 games in the previous three seasons. “This job is similar today to when I took it. It was tough turning it around, really tough.”

It took time for Majors to turn it around. The Vols went 21-23-1 in his first four seasons before going 8-4 in 1981.

Majors didn’t make any predictions, but he seems confident in Dooley.

Majors immediately endorsed the hire in January. He said he first began admiring Dooley when he went from a walk-on to a scholarship receiver at Virginia that faced off against Majors’ Vols in the Sugar Bowl after the 1990 season.

Majors got to know Dooley even more through football camps that the two have been involved with over the last few years.

“When he spoke, he spoke very well,” Majors said. “I’ve heard him lecture. I’ve been impressed by his presentation, his organization and his knowledge of football.”

That came from hard work, not bloodlines. Majors said he doesn’t see a spoiled coach’s son when he’s visited with Dooley despite the fact that his father, Vince Dooley, coached at Georgia for 25 years and won a national championship.

“I told his mother and daddy on several occasions ‘Your son’s going to do very well in coaching. I like the way he presents himself. He’s not only knowledgeable and confident; he’s also very respectful.’ I appreciated that,” Major said.

That’s just Dooley being Dooley.

“I just think that’s part of the basic human condition, to treat people with respect, especially people that have done so much,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything I should get a pat on the back for. I just think it’s something you should do.”

Dooley has been a fan of Majors almost as long as he’s been a football fan. In his introductory press conference at UT, Dooley recalled how he enjoyed watching Majors’ enthusiasm during his coaching show.

“One of my favorite shows every Sunday was the Johnny Majors Show,” Dooley said again after practice this week. “He just had great energy. He’d bang that desk. He was into every play.

“Some of those coach’s shows were so boring. I’m not going to say my dad’s was, but …”

Dooley figured out quick that Majors wasn’t boring, especially when the two were traveling from one camp to another.

“He’s got a little personality so he hung out with my mother, not my father, when they went on the Nike trips,” Dooley said referring to his mother, Barbara Dooley, a frequent outspoken football fan on some regional radio shows.

Dooley, who was questioned publicly for a tighter policy with former players early in his tenure, made his feeling clear when asked about Majors’ inclusion in the program.

“It’s important that everybody who had any blood, sweat or tears still left here be a part of the program because it’s their program,” he said. “We have one of the greatest traditions in college football of winning. That didn’t happen because of one person. It happened because of thousands of people that played, coached and were in the support staff. They’re all — to me — a part of the program.

“I’m just a little speck in it. I hope they all come back and embrace what we’re trying to do.”

Majors clearly has. The tough-minded coach even gave Dooley the ultimate compliment: He’s tough.

“I don’t think anybody can work for Nick Saban and be a candy (expletive),” Majors said with that same smile.

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Comments » 92

jimvolfan writes:

Gotta love Coach Majors. Never a dull moment.

Bigger_Al writes:

Not sure what your definition of "competed for a National Championship" is, but to me, we competed for a National Championship in 2001. We were a lost fumble or a dropped interception away for playing for it all.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

Was this interview conducted over several days, Hooker? Did you ask any questions? Are you now thinking of questions you should have asked? For an Ace reporter you certainly have a mysterious approach to bringing out information.

eefor10c writes:

Let's see, who won a national championship at Tennessee. Majors or Fulmer? Wonder if Majors knows that answer.

beachvol1 writes:

in response to eefor10c:

Let's see, who won a national championship at Tennessee. Majors or Fulmer? Wonder if Majors knows that answer.

Let's see idiot...who built a program in that was in shams and who let one go to shams??? answer that!!! and Phil stay off the message boards!!! Get over it

give_him_6 writes:

Good to hear from you again Coach!!! Miss seeing Johnny around!

stevefrommemphis writes:

God bless Johnny Majors!

I think Johnny's best team at Tennessee was the 1990 team, which finished 9-2-2. If Chuck Webb had not been hurt vs. Pacific in the 2nd or 3rd game of the season, it could have been a really special year. Thompson replaced Webb and did very well and was a good, team player, but Webb was probably the best back in U.T. history - even better than Jamal Lewis. The 1990 loss to #1 Notre Dame and Rocket Ishmael was one of Tennessee's best performances ever in a losing performance - and the Vols almost pulled it off.

Majors and Fulmer both did great things for Tennessee football. Majors had the added burden of having to rebuild the disaster left by one of the worst coaches in Tennessee history.

charles57#1378642 writes:

Majors should be named MINORS!

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

I supported Majors, Fulmer, and Shame Kiffin. Now I support Dooley. Why? Because I am a Tennessee Vol fan.

hueypilot writes:

in response to beachvol1:

Let's see idiot...who built a program in that was in shams and who let one go to shams??? answer that!!! and Phil stay off the message boards!!! Get over it

Not exactly sure how finger pointing and name calling to a couple of men who gave so much of their lives to Tennessee football as players and coaches is a good exercise. I respect and admire both men for their effort and leadership and appreciate all they did for their (and my) alma mater.

jesusvol4 writes:

Coach Majors is a class act. He certainly deserves to be treated respectfully. I wish there could be some bridges built between he and coach Fulmer to make up for how he (coach Majors) was treated in 1992. I hate that there has to be bad blood there. They are two great Tennessee men, but were involved in a bad situational coaching dilemma......did I say that right? You know what I'm trying to say.

newtonrail writes:

Hamilton, retire No. 45 NOW.

chaos001 writes:

“I don’t think anybody can work for Nick Saban and be a candy (expletive),” Majors said with that same smile.

that about says it all.

LibertyVolance writes:

Majors was and is a great Volunteer. That spirit and lively attitude sustained me through some tough years in the 80s.

I think Dooley has some of that tough spirit to bring to the table and it's my hope that he will succeed and remain a Vol for a long time to come. I am excited about 2010 Vol football.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to charles57#1378642:

Majors should be named MINORS!

moron...

alwaysVol writes:

wonder if we will ever see guest coaches, Majors vs Fulmer?

alwaysVol writes:

vol_in_bigten_land I'm with you, I love tennessee, I don't care who is coaching or playing.

givehim6 writes:

I wounder why Majors is out spoken about what goes on at UT, but Fulmure is not heard from? You still pouting Phil?

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to Biggunzz44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Coach Fulmer certainly has no need to pout.
You do enough of that for both of you.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

I have many fond memories of Majors teams; The night we went in an knocked off UCLA in LA and a hundred UT loyal partied with the team in the corner of the end zone;; The kick off classic against Colorado where we were introduced to a DB named Dale Carter who almost KO a CU player on his first tackle and the game ended on a draw play to Webb that he almost ran 50 yards to a TD...And most of all the joy on his face as the vols blocked the Notre Dame kick to complete the greatest comeback in UT history!!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

The Majors family of Tennessee.

Tenn born, Tenn bred.

People like Johnny, Cafego, John Ward, Neyland, Adkins, Manning, Al Wilson, Kinser, Holloway,Cooter, TJ, sorry got off track just a tad, are special.

These make the trek when the god Orange calls the faithful to the Hill in the fall always a special time.

C'mon Corch Dooley, put the wheels back on this wreck and let's get started.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to beachvol1:

Let's see idiot...who built a program in that was in shams and who let one go to shams??? answer that!!! and Phil stay off the message boards!!! Get over it

Have to agree beach, Majors built the program back up. Phil was a good coach for several years and won a NC but he got lazy in the end!!!
I love me some coach Majors sound bites!!!

BrassMonkey writes:

Headline should read. "Majors endorses any coach who is not Fulmer"

VOLinATL writes:

Both men did great things in their times on The Hill, and some not so great. Both also left their jobs under not so happy circumstances. But both were born and bred Tennesseeans, and bled Orange and White. We are forunate to have had both and be proud of both!

Wilhelm16 writes:

given his contributions as a coach and his legendary status as a UT player Coach Majors is in my opinion the greatest Vol of all time!

Brentwoodboy3 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

The Majors family of Tennessee.

Tenn born, Tenn bred.

People like Johnny, Cafego, John Ward, Neyland, Adkins, Manning, Al Wilson, Kinser, Holloway,Cooter, TJ, sorry got off track just a tad, are special.

These make the trek when the god Orange calls the faithful to the Hill in the fall always a special time.

C'mon Corch Dooley, put the wheels back on this wreck and let's get started.

And Fulmer! Tenn born...Tenn Bred!

irishman writes:

in response to newtonrail:

Hamilton, retire No. 45 NOW.

OR... Hamilton: retire NOW!

kd45music writes:

in response to beachvol1:

Let's see idiot...who built a program in that was in shams and who let one go to shams??? answer that!!! and Phil stay off the message boards!!! Get over it

Okay, you make a good point partially. However, I don't think anyone can question either Majors' or Fulmer's loyalty to Tennessee football. They were both true orange Tennessee coaches.

jesusvol4 writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

moron...

you need to be named BIG SOUR LEMON!

OTPVol writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

I supported Majors, Fulmer, and Shame Kiffin. Now I support Dooley. Why? Because I am a Tennessee Vol fan.

Amen

PennVol writes:

Majors and Fulmer were victims of their own success as coaches at UT but in different ways. Majors got too cocky and ran his mouth and Fulmer got complacent. Both had great moments in their prime.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

God bless Johnny Majors!

I think Johnny's best team at Tennessee was the 1990 team, which finished 9-2-2. If Chuck Webb had not been hurt vs. Pacific in the 2nd or 3rd game of the season, it could have been a really special year. Thompson replaced Webb and did very well and was a good, team player, but Webb was probably the best back in U.T. history - even better than Jamal Lewis. The 1990 loss to #1 Notre Dame and Rocket Ishmael was one of Tennessee's best performances ever in a losing performance - and the Vols almost pulled it off.

Majors and Fulmer both did great things for Tennessee football. Majors had the added burden of having to rebuild the disaster left by one of the worst coaches in Tennessee history.

The 1989 team, which went 11-1, losing to Bama by a wide margin, but really it all turned on one Utah pass, had a more consistent O-Line, and was probably a little better, but that 90 team was special.

arkyvol writes:

let me see if i get this. major's predecessor "only won 20 games" in the three years before the coming of the great johnny majors who took four years to win 21. sure, he followed it up with an eight win season, but there were more bill battle like seasons to follow. majors was just a higher level of mediocrity.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

I supported Majors, Fulmer, and Shame Kiffin. Now I support Dooley. Why? Because I am a Tennessee Vol fan.

Add Bill Battle to that list for me. Thank you for one of the best posts I've ever read on this site. GBO!!

Cldvols1 writes:

Very good to see Majors in support of Dooley and believing he WILL return the Vols back to prominence. I'm excited to see UT get back to its roots of old fashioned, hard-nosed southern pigskin. Not asking for a miracle in the first couple of years but I do believe we'll go at least .500 both years. 7-5 in 2010 and 8-4 in 2011 is me predictions. Through the good and bad times I will always support Tennessee. Now Go Vols!!!!!!!!!!!

brokebackvol writes:

in response to Wilhelm16:

given his contributions as a coach and his legendary status as a UT player Coach Majors is in my opinion the greatest Vol of all time!

Majors and Fulmer are both Tennessee legends and deserve plenty of praise for their achievements, but there is a top shelf that neither of those coaches have reached. That shelf is reserved for the General, and Pat Summitt. Here's hoping that when Pat decides to retire, the Thompson Boling Arena will be renamed in her honor.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to eefor10c:

Let's see, who won a national championship at Tennessee. Majors or Fulmer? Wonder if Majors knows that answer.

It would only take one a matter of moments to look at the coaching family tree that Johnny Majors created in order for you to realize how ignorant your comment is.

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to txvolsfan:

Have to agree beach, Majors built the program back up. Phil was a good coach for several years and won a NC but he got lazy in the end!!!
I love me some coach Majors sound bites!!!

And had Majors not been replaced when he was, the Tennessee football program would have been where we are now by about 1995.

Manning would have never played here for one...

But more importantly talent in the recruiting realm was walking away faster than Bush and Obama could give the federal treasury away if there were no legislative and judicial checks and balances.

The debacle of the halftime in Arizona (the 42-17 2nd half whipping by Penn State in the Feista Bowl) where much of the team quit on him, FOR GOOD REASON mind you, had led to a situation where active players were deterring recruits from coming to Knoxville to play.

The Tennessee football progaram could not afford to let that continue, and Doug Dickey and the Trustees knew it.

Ranting prejoratives at his players was not going to cut it in the college game by that point in time...

Johnny's mouth, which got him into plenty of trouble with the Board over the years, lost his team. And of course his teams at Pitt didn't fair too well after that either.

I grew up respecting, and still respect, the entire Major's football lineage. And I understand the horror and sacrifice the family and Volunteer faithful experienced with them when Bill was killed before the UCLA game,and the joys they experienced with them over multiple decades.

No one family is more critical to the history of modern Southern football in my mind...and if you don't know the story of Shirley Majors, for god's sake hit it up on google~

For that matter if you don't know the history of Sewanne football, you would be wise to educate yourself:

"While there are some who would swear to the contrary, I did not see the 1899 Sewanee football team play in person. Winning five road games in six days, all by shutout scores, has to be one of the most staggering achievements in the history of the sport. If the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) had been in effect in 1899, there seems little doubt Sewanee would have played in the title game. And they wouldn’t have been done in by any computer ratings.” — Penn State head coach Joe Paterno

http://www.southernscribe.com/reviews...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1899_Sew...

But like all things, it was Johnny's time to go, just as it was Phillip's - but for radically different reasons.

Majors was a GREAT coach,a hall of fame coach, whose demons and prejudices overcame him for a time.

I am happy to see that the man has healed some from that, and am very happy he has re-embraced his Tennessee roots.

Family fueds can often be the toughest and most bitter pills to swallow. Any wise man knows that.

It is time for this family to heal~

Orangeblood13 writes:

halfMonte should not even be mentioned in the same breath as Majors, Fulmer, or even Dooley

gimmie a break

finn writes:

MESSAGE TO ALL FULMER SUPPORTERS: Although message boards didn't exist back then, Johnny was bashed after his firing. He was the butt of jokes and 'washed up.' A few years later, after the smoke clears, the fans start being a little more even-keeled and recognize all the good things he did as well. My college years amounted to 3 losses and a tie with Bama. At the time, I wanted Major's head on a platter. Looking back, I also remember some great wins like the comeback at ND. The last images of Fulmer were some embarrassing losses. In time, those will fade and Phil will get the respect he deserves. In the meantime, it is not necessary to smooch his butt everytime you fear a negative reference about him is made. Be patient. He'll get his turn.

NeylandWest writes:

GeneralNeylandsReturn - excellent post!

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to NeylandWest:

GeneralNeylandsReturn - excellent post!

Thanks! You make some very valid posts also!

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to finn:

MESSAGE TO ALL FULMER SUPPORTERS: Although message boards didn't exist back then, Johnny was bashed after his firing. He was the butt of jokes and 'washed up.' A few years later, after the smoke clears, the fans start being a little more even-keeled and recognize all the good things he did as well. My college years amounted to 3 losses and a tie with Bama. At the time, I wanted Major's head on a platter. Looking back, I also remember some great wins like the comeback at ND. The last images of Fulmer were some embarrassing losses. In time, those will fade and Phil will get the respect he deserves. In the meantime, it is not necessary to smooch his butt everytime you fear a negative reference about him is made. Be patient. He'll get his turn.

Also astute and tru!

GeneralNeylandsReturn writes:

in response to PennVol:

Majors and Fulmer were victims of their own success as coaches at UT but in different ways. Majors got too cocky and ran his mouth and Fulmer got complacent. Both had great moments in their prime.

Both had great moment in their time too; both left the field victors, on players' shoulders...

my only real beef...lol...Major's lost to Kentucky - three times - lol - wham, bam, thank-you maam. we don't give a damn, about the whole state of Kentucky!!

Go Big Orange!!

537081 writes:

Say what you want to. Jonny Majors turned UT around when it was at its worst. I remember "When Jonny came marching home again" If you don't remember never say a bad word about Jonny, if you don't remember how bad it was before Jonny let me tell you it was bad. When I think of the greats at UT The General is probly first then Jonny Majors. Thanks for the memories. Thanks to Mama Majors for all the Sons.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

I supported Majors, Fulmer, and Shame Kiffin. Now I support Dooley. Why? Because I am a Tennessee Vol fan.

YES!!!

jesusvol4 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

YES!!!

YES! YES!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

Some of you guys crack me up. This is a simple article written about what Majors, former coach, thinks of current coach Dooley, and you guys can't pass up the chance to exhume the hatchet that should have stayed buried a long time ago. How about let's live in the present! I support CDD, and supported CJM! and CPF!

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

Some of you guys crack me up. This is a simple article written about what Majors, former coach, thinks of current coach Dooley, and you guys can't pass up the chance to exhume the hatchet that should have stayed buried a long time ago. How about let's live in the present! I support CDD, and supported CJM! and CPF!

Yes. But I'm more saddend by their hateful remarks than amused. Some fans seek out and always find the turd in a free ice cream shop.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to Brentwoodboy3:

And Fulmer! Tenn born...Tenn Bred!

Very true.

Won't be long we can add Barbara Dooley to that list.

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