KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee community is mourning the death of legendary Vols player and coach Johnny Majors. He was 85.
Majors was born into a Tennessee football family as the eldest of five sons who all played college football. He came to UT as a single-wing tailback triple threat, and by the time his playing career ended -- he ranked in the top 10 in total offense and rushing yards, and was the single-season record holder for pass completion percentage.
His accomplishments would earn him a spot in the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. He was also a runner up for the Heisman Trophy in 1956, and was named SEC player of the year in 1955 and 1956.
Majors would then turn to coaching, eventually serving as head coach at Iowa and Pittsburgh, where the Panthers won the national title in 1976. He returned home to Tennessee in 1977 to coach the Volunteers, and after 16 seasons -- his teams won the 1985 SEC championship and back-to-back conference titles in 1989 and 1990.
He left coaching at UT in 1992 with an overall record of 185-137-10.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee gave his condolences Wednesday:
“Johnny Majors is a Tennessee icon and @Vol_Football legend who will be missed. Our prayers are with his wife Mary Lynn and the Majors family.”
Tennessee Football honored Majors Wednesday, changing its social media profile picture to 45 -- his jersey number.
"Dynamic on the field. Fierce on the sidelines. Distinguished Tennessean. We mourn the loss of legendary player and coach Johnny Majors—a man who left an indelible mark on Tennessee Football," it said.
UT System President Randy Boyd said the "Volunteer family lost a legend" Wednesday.
"The impact Johnny Majors made on Vol Football and college football will be felt for decades. Rest in peace Coach Majors," he said.
Thousands of others online shared condolences for Majors and his family after learning about his death.