Tight-knit Vols of 1956 revel in memories

Johnny Majors gets all fired up when he talks about his senior season of football at Tennessee in 1956.

Majors, legendary player and coach for the Vols, was recognized with the rest of the 1956 Vols as "Legends of the Game" before Saturday's game against LSU at Neyland Stadium.

Most of the players from the '56 team gathered Friday night and spent an evening recalling their days at UT.

"Anytime I'm with my former teammates and the great players and the wonderful team we had in 1956, I never miss. I never will miss," Majors said. "Of all the living members, 90 percent were here for dinner (Friday night). It was a great time. I told my team last night: There's not a rotten apple in this whole room."

Majors wore his original No. 45 jersey as he mingled with former teammates, other former UT players, friends and fans in the Letterman's Club before Saturday's game.

He could not hide his excitement when talking about his UT playing days.

"It was a great experience, man!" Majors said. "I lived my dream! I lived my dream! I'd wanted to be a big-time college player since I could walk and I got to do it at Tennessee!"

His career culminated in 1956 when the Vols went 10-0 before losing to Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.

Majors was among seven seniors that season who were signed by Gen. Robert R. Neyland in December of 1952. Neyland retired in February of 1953 and was replaced by Harvey Robinson, who was fired after a 4-6 season in 1954.

Bowden Wyatt took and led the Vols to a 6-3-1 record in 1955 and an SEC championship (6-0) in 1956.

The Vols' seventh game of the '56 season may be the most memorable. UT, ranked third nationally, went to play No. 2-ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Tommy Bronson scored on a short run and the Vols left with a 6-0 victory.

"That was a classic," Major said. "It was a tightly played game, one of the great kicking and defensive classics in the history of football."

Bronson sealed the victory with an interception on Georgia Tech's last drive.

"The interception to me was more important (than the touchdown) because a close game was finally over and we had won," Bronson said.

Many years later, the 1956 team remains a tight-knit group.

"It was a special group of guys with special hearts, a great deal of caring about each other and a desire to win," Bronson said. "We played well together."

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Comments » 2

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

Tommy Bronson is a class act all the way!!


hcjournals#206623 writes:

Coach Majors is all Vol....

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