KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The names of Tennessee football legend Johnny Majors and heavyweight champion boxer John Tate may soon adorn two places in Knoxville.
The Knoxville Public Property Naming Committee will consider two resolutions to approve a pair of honorary street names at their next meeting on May 2.
One would add the name “Coach John Majors Bridge” to the new bridge carrying Topside Road over Alcoa Highway. Another would add the honorary street name “Big John Tate Corner” to Lakeside Street at its northern intersection with Magnolia Avenue.
Majors was an indelible figure at the University of Tennessee. He was was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy runner-up as a player. He coached Tennessee to the 1985 SEC Championship and back-to-back conference titles in 1989 and 1990.
He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and his No. 45 was retired by Tennessee in 2012. He died in 2020 at the age of 85.
Professional boxer and Knoxville resident “Big John” Tate was a bronze medalist at the 1976 Summer Olympics and captured the vacant WBA heavyweight championship in 1979, succeeding Muhammad Ali following his first retirement.
The title fight against South African fighter Gerrie Coetzee took place in front of more than 80,000 people at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, the first time Black South Africans were allowed to sit in the venue during apartheid. Tate died in Knoxville in 1998 at the age of 43.
The honorary designations would not replace the official street name and are displayed on a different color sign directly below the official sign.