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Special Collections Online at UT

Johnny Majors Collection

Identifier: MS-2019

  • Staff Only

This collection contains items from each era of Coach Majors career at the University of Tennessee. Many personal letters concerning his dismissal are in this collection, beside playbooks, speech material, and other football related papers. NFL correspondence is also in this collection because of Coach Majors' position as head of the CFA. In all, the collection totals four boxes.


  • 1983-1993

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


4 Linear Feet


The Johnny Majors Collection contains material relating to his tenure as football coach at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Spanning the time period 1983-1993, the collection includes correspondence, playbooks, and assorted athletic files.

Biographical/Historical Note

John "Johnny" Terrill Majors was born on May 21st, 1935 in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Johnny Majors holds a unique place in the University of Tennessee's football program. Not only was Johnny Majors an excellent player, but he also returned in 1976 to assume the head coaching vacancy. He would hold this post for the next sixteen years, leaving an indelible mark in Tennessee football history.

The University of Tennessee was Majors' third major head coaching job. Iowa State was the first stop in Majors' coaching journey. After five years of moderate success, Majors moved on to the University of Pittsburgh. He had caught the eye of the Panthers after receiving the Big Eight Coach of the Year Award in 1971. Coach Majors' greatest success was soon to come. After three years of steady improvement, the Panthers won the national championship in 1976.

Although Majors had reached an impressive plateau at Pittsburgh, his goal was to one day return to Tennessee to coach the Volunteers. The opportunity for Majors' return came in 1976 and Coach Majors returned to his home state and alma mater. He would remain at Tennessee for the next sixteen years, rebuilding a quality football program and returning them to SEC and national glory.

The fairy tale relationship of Coach Majors and UT was abruptly ended in 1992 with his coerced retirement. The news was made public within weeks of Coach Majors undergoing heart surgery and came as a shock to both Majors and most UT fans. Majors then decided to return to the site of his greatest coaching success, the University of Pittsburgh.


Collection consists of four boxes divided into two series: Subject Files and Notebooks and Playbooks.

Acquisition Note

Johnny Majors donated this material to the University of Tennessee's Special Collections Library in 1994.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA