What a terrible week — all around, but also in regards to SEC legends. First Pat Dye passed away on Monday and now Tennessee legend Johnny Majors died this morning at the age of 85.
Majors played at Tennessee and was the runner-up for the 1956 Heisman Trophy to Paul Hornung, who played on a 2-8 Notre Dame Team — so that makes twice a Vol has been royally screwed out of that trophy. He got his first head coaching job at Iowa State before going to Pittsburgh, where he won a national championship in 1976 and then left to come home to Tennessee.
I actually had a coach in high school who was an assistant under Majors at Pitt and the one funny story I remember him telling was one day Majors was just nowhere to be found and nobody knew where he was. So Coach Turk went to the secretary and asked where Majors was and she said, "I'm not supposed to tell anybody, but he's at Pebble Beach. Not sure when he'll be back." That's a real one right there.
Majors won three SEC titles and an SEC Coach of the Year award while in Knoxville, before having a confluence of unfortunate circumstances in 1992 led to him being replaced with Philip Fulmer. It really sucks that two of the three greatest coaches in school history ended up hating each other until one of them died, but Majors definitely hated Fulmer until the day he went to be with the Lord.
Majors was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987, while he still had another decade of coaching left. If there's a Mt. Rushmore of Tennessee football, he's on it. And above all else, he rocked the 1980s coaches' polo like nobody's business.
Rest in peace, Coach.