Majors belongs in Hall of Fame as coach


Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Former Tennessee coach John Majors was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987 as a player.

He was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1956 and a two-time SEC Player of the Year. For those SEC die-hards, it's no secret that the Majors name is as interwoven into Tennessee football as checkerboard end zones and the color orange.

And while it's rare for somebody to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, Majors has as good a case as anybody.

Steve Spurrier will no doubt pull it off when he's finished coaching. He's already been enshrined as a player.

But as it stands now, only Amos Alonzo Stagg, Bowden Wyatt and Bobby Dodd have been elected as both players and coaches.

One of the requirements to be elected to the Hall as a coach is a .600 winning percentage. Majors has a career winning percentage of .557 (185-137-10), which means he would have to be nominated through a special veterans committee.

It's not without precedent.

Hayden Fry, Jerry Claiborne and Grant Teaff have all been inducted as coaches within the last 10 years, and none of the three has a career .600 winning percentage.

In fact, had Majors, 73, not returned to Pittsburgh for those final four seasons after he was forced out at Tennessee in 1992, his career record would be a shade over .600.

This much is indisputable about Majors' work as a coach: He rebuilt three programs (Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Tennessee) that were badly in need of rebuilding, and he left all three in much better shape than he found them.

His 1976 Pittsburgh team, led by Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, finished 12-0 and won the national championship. The Panthers won all but one game that season by double-digit margins and had enough returning talent to perhaps win another title somewhere down the road.

But Tennessee called, and Majors couldn't tell his alma mater no.

It took him longer than anybody wanted to get Tennessee back to elite status in the SEC. But he won three SEC titles in his last seven full seasons in Knoxville.

His coaching résumé speaks for itself and is without question Hall of Fame material.

Now it's time that the right people take notice.