Vols retire Johnny Majors' jersey

Updated: September 15, 2012, 8:47 PM ET
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Tennessee tailback and coach Johnny Majors had his No. 45 jersey retired Saturday before the 23rd-ranked Volunteers' game against No. 18 Florida, but players can continue to wear the number under the school's new policy for this honor.

"This is one of the most emotional days of my life," Majors said.

Tennessee is allowing current and future players to wear retired numbers of anyone who gets his jersey retired from this point on. Majors is the first honoree to whom this policy applies. Sophomore linebacker A.J. Johnson currently wears No. 45 for Tennessee.

Tennessee's previous seven retired jerseys will remain out of circulation unless an honoree allows his number to be worn by someone else. If the honoree has died, his family would need to grant permission.

Majors, 77, was a single-wing tailback and punter at Tennessee who finished second to Notre Dame's Paul Hornung in the 1956 Heisman Trophy balloting. Majors was named the Southeastern Conference's player of the year in 1955 and 1956. Now his No. 45 jersey is the eighth in school history to be retired.

"I've been on pretty much of a high the last few days when I thought there was a good chance it was going to happen," Majors said.

Although Majors was being honored Saturday for his accomplishments as a player, he also had a productive college coaching career. After coaching Pittsburgh to the 1976 national title, he returned to his alma mater and went 116-62-8 at Tennessee from 1977-92.

Majors was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Other former Vols to have their jerseys retired include Peyton Manning (No. 16), Bill Nowling (No. 32), Rudy Klarer (No. 49), Willis Tucker (No. 61), Clyde Fuson (No. 62), Doug Atkins (No. 91) and Reggie White (No. 92).


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press