Tennessee to retire Johnny Majors' No. 45 jersey before game

Coach Johnny Majors is carried from the field after the Vols defeated Notre Dame 40-18 on Oct. 10, 1979, at Neyland Stadium. (KNS Archive)

Photo by KNS Archive, Knoxville News Sentinel

Coach Johnny Majors is carried from the field after the Vols defeated Notre Dame 40-18 on Oct. 10, 1979, at Neyland Stadium. (KNS Archive)

Tennessee announced this morning that the No. 45 jersey of legendary former player and coach Johnny Majors would be retired before today's game.

The Vols (2-0) play Florida (2-0) today at 6 p.m. (TV: ESPN). The ceremony honoring Majors will begin at 5:40 p.m.

"It is only fitting to honor such a distinguished playing career," said Tennessee Athletics Director Dave Hart in a university release. "Johnny Majors is one of the greatest players in the rich and storied tradition of Tennessee football, and we are proud to bestow this honor upon him."

Majors played for the Vols from 1954-1956. He was twice the SEC Player of the Year and an All-SEC selection at tailback. Major was a unanimous All-American in 1956, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Majors, 77, is a native of Lynchburg. He was head coach at Tennessee from 1977 to 1992, compiling a 116-62-8 record.

Tennessee said the No. 45, currently worn by linebacker A.J. Johnson, would remain in circulation in the future "based on the new criteria for these types of honors."

Tennessee said all future retired jerseys would also remain in circulation, but the previous seven numbers that have been retired will continue not to be worn unless "specific permission" is granted by the honoree or surviving family members.

Peyton Manning, Bill Nowling, Rudy Klarer, Willis Tucker, Clyde Fuson, Doug Atkins and Reggie White have previously been honored with retired numbers.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 14

imw8n4u writes:

This is surprising to me, is Phillip Fulmer's old number next?

volposter writes:

About time, Great player and successful coach here and elsewhere.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

It's about time! The most successful member of the First Family of Tennessee Football! The Player, The Coach, The Legend!!!!

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

So kind of like me; Semi-retired and still in circulation.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

This is long overdue, one of the hardest nosed players in UT history that was also cheated out of the paper weight by a sub 500 ND team w/Hornung..Congrats to Johnny a great Volunteer player and a pretty darn good FB coach to boot..HBTV!

arkyvol writes:

isn't he already in the jack daniels hall of fame?

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to arkyvol:

isn't he already in the jack daniels hall of fame?

Very funny jack-wagon..We're all going to laugh at you and your razorbacks getting spanked today..Go back to that cabin in the Ozarks and drink shine and STHU! PS: BTW, tell your wife, nice tooth.

John_10065 writes:

Well deserved. Many thought we were a shoe in for the Sugar Bowl when he came.

I think we have forgotten one thing. He came here and went 4-7 overall and 1-5 in SEC play his first year. It took him quite a few years to get UT to being a feared contender.

If some of our so-called faithful here on this site were back in 1977 with a message board and a PC, they would be running around with virtual pitchforks and torches after a 4-7 season.

tovolny writes:

Great!...Should have been done years ago. But, I was hoping they would declare "Major Numbers" and use both 44 and 45 to honor Bobby and Bill also. The Majors family would control who had the right to wear them. The Major guys feel like my family. When I was growing up, the name Majors and Tennessee football were synonyms.

The Vols also need to do something big (maybe statues) for LINDSEY NELSON and JOHN WARD. These guys and the Majors mean (tears in the eyes) bigger than life stalwarts to the max.

Runningangry writes:

I just heard on the radio that it's not his actual number 45 being retired. It's just his jersey. It makes no sense to me to not just retire the number and be done with it. Still, it's a nice homage to a true Vol For Life.

Vol43 writes:

"…Coach Bob Neyland will gather his Vols at Shields-Watkins Field at 8 o'clock and start the Orange and White aspirants on the rocky road to glory." That's right boys and girls! The Rocky Road to Glory!

manoffewwords writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

It's about time! The most successful member of the First Family of Tennessee Football! The Player, The Coach, The Legend!!!!

AMEN !

Einstein writes:

'Bout time.
What took so long.
Johnny is a legend.
"When Johnny Goes Marching Home."

tensie2004 writes:

Great player and coach who deserves this great honor. Go Big Orange.

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