Johnny Majors Classic to honor iconic coach of Tennessee and Pittsburgh

Orange and White Nation

Johnny Majors, Head Coach for the University of Tennessee Volunteers stands with his team during the NCAA Southeastern Conference college football game against the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish on 10 November 1990 at the Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Notre Dame won the game 34 – 29. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Allsport/Getty Images)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee’s Week 2 matchup against Pittsburgh has been dubbed the Johnny Majors Classic in honor of the legendary former coach of both programs who passed away last year.

The Johnny Majors Classic will kick off at noon Saturday, Sept. 11, at Neyland Stadium. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN.

“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.”

As a player, Majors helped Tennessee to the 1956 Southeastern Conference Championship. In addition to his second SEC Player of the Year honor, he was named a unanimous All-American selection and finished as the runner up for the 1956 Heisman Trophy.

Majors received the 1976 Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award after leading the University of Pittsburgh to a national championship and a perfect 12-0 record. Following the perfect season, Majors returned to his alma mater to coach the Volunteers. He led Tennessee to the 1985 SEC Championship and back-to-back conference titles in 1989 and 1990.

“We are honored to join the University of Tennessee in celebrating the life of coach Johnny Majors,” Pitt Director of Athletics Heather Lyke said. “Beyond the victories, coach Majors made such a huge impact on the lives of his players. That’s his greatest legacy and the University of Pittsburgh is incredibly proud to be part of it. We look forward to being with the Majors family when we visit in September.”

The noon matchup will be the first meeting between the Vols and Panthers since 1983; along with in-game festivities, there will be Johnny Majors Classic apparel for sale. The two programs are set to meet again for the second Johnny Majors Classic on Sep. 10, 2022, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

“Coach Majors was synonymous with Tennessee football and that has become even more apparent to me in my short time in Knoxville,” Tennessee 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.”

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