Tennessee, Pittsburgh To Honor Late Coach With ‘Johnny Majors Classic’

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    Photo by Rick Stewart

    Tennessee and Pittsburgh’s week two matchup at Neyland Stadium will serve as the “Johnny Majors Classic” in honor of the former Panthers’ and Vols’ head coach.

    “Honoring Johnny Majors in this way creates another really special and unique element to an already-special season as we celebrate Neyland Stadium’s centennial,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White said. “I appreciate Pittsburgh’s partnership on this. It will be a memorable day for the Majors family as well as fans of both schools who appreciate Johnny Majors’ hall of fame legacy.”

    Mayors is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, finishing runner up in the 1956 Heisman Trophy race as a tailback for Tennessee.

    The Lynchburg, Tennessee native started his head coaching career at Iowa State before spending four seasons at Pittsburgh from 1973-76. At Pitt, Majors coached Heisman winner Tony Dorsett and won the 1976 national championship.

    Photo by AP

    “This is an incredibly fitting tribute for Coach Majors, a true coaching legend who made such a lasting impact at both Pitt and Tennessee,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Every time I walk past our national championship display, I’m reminded—and inspired—by his legacy. He set high standards on and off the field during his incredible career.”

    After the 1976 title, Majors returned to his alma mater where he served as head coach from 1977-92. Under Majors’ leadership, Tennessee won SEC titles in 1985, 89 and 90.

    Mayors was a part of some of the most memorable wins in Tennessee history like the 1991 comeback win at Notre Dame and the 1986 Sugar Bowl win over Miami.

    The Tennessee native passed away last summer at the age of 85. Majors lived in Knoxville after retiring from coaching after another four year stint as head coach at Pittsburgh.

    “Coach Majors was synonymous with Tennessee football and that has become even more apparent to me in my short time in Knoxville,” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said. “He always preached ‘attack, attack, attack’ to his teams, a mantra we still apply today. It’s only appropriate that the two programs he impacted the most will honor him with a game in his namesake, and we are proud to take part in it.”

    The two schools didn’t release any further details about how they’ll honor Majors in the game. 

    The Sept. 11 matchup is the first test of the Josh Heupel era after the Vols’ kick off the season on Sept. 2 against Bowling Green.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.