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About this Page -- This is a discussion on Johnny Majors' History Page 4. within the forum Tennessee Vols Football. Originally Posted by ole_orange I don't like Johnny. He is an alcoholic, and a 7-win caliber head coach . Gee, ...

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Old 11-03-2008, 09:29 PM   #46 (permalink)
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I don't like Johnny. He is an alcoholic, and a 7-win caliber head coach.
Gee, he must have been really lucky, then, because somehow he managed to win 9 or more games in 5 out of his last 7 full seasons. And that was back when 9 wins really meant something.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:30 PM   #47 (permalink)
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I can barely remember Majors replacing Bill Battle, but the first UT game I ever went to Battle was the coach.

I do remember quite a bit of Majors' career. He had some good teams but he had some faults as well. IMO, his biggest fault was not sticking with something that worked. In the later 80's, it seemed he'd show up at a game with a newly installed offense or defense that didn't work. Prime example was him opening up in a wide tackle 6 defense in Legion Field against Bama in 87 or 88, I don't remember which. That game was over in the first quarter.

I was at UT when Fulmer took over. Johnny came back from his heart surgury too early. He knew that, everyone knew that. He was worried by the fact that Fulmer had beat the sheite out of Georgia and Florida early on. I still remember that drowning I got at the Florida Game. It was the best student ticket I ever had while at the University, 40 yard line about 3 rows up in the upper deck. Water was shooting up out of those storm drains on the field (Astro turf back then) about 6 or 8 feet above the ground.

He could probably have lost to Bama and survived, but 3 straight losses killed him. I believe the majority of people felt like if Fulmer had been coach against Bama and could have gotten half the fire out of the team he got for the Florida game, we'd have won the Bama game too, and justifying loosing to Arkansas and South Carolina wasn't thinkable after we'd whipped Florida and Georgia.

Also, a couple weeks before the heart attack, Majors got stopped for DUI. He'd been stopped for it before and it had always been over looked. Evidently he said the wrong thing to the wrong officer that time and it like to have blew up in the University's face.

I wouldn't doubt Fulmer helped to put Majors out, but who wouldn't in that situation. We are talking about someone trying to go from Offensive Coordinator to head coach of a major SEC football team. You do what you have to do.

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Old 11-03-2008, 10:00 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Fulmer's Treatment vs. Major's Treatment

I have heard about the drinking problems concerning Majors. No one is perfect and many a great coach has had drinking problems, example the legendary Paul Bear Bryant was an alcoholic.

The fact is Fulmer had much better treatment regarding his exit. He gets a nice buyout package of several million dollars and he will even be honored at the Kentucky game with a Phil Fulmer appreciation day.

Majors was a proven good coach. He built Iowa State and Pittsburg after both schools had been down for a long time, and of course won a National Championship at Pittsburg. UT's program had declined badly after Dickey left and Majors eventually built a strong program. When he left UT, the program was in good shape, not so in Fulmer's case.

I still say that Majors's treatment on his exit was unconscionable by the UT Administration. The man was seriously ill and had to have heart surgery. You don't go replacing someone under those circumstances. Johnny Majors was part of the UT family, an All-American at UT and his two brothers, Bobby and Bill, had successful football careers at UT. Bill Majors was a coach under Doug Dickey and was killed in a tragic train wreck. You just don't treat family that way in my opinion.
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Old 11-04-2008, 08:37 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Whatever...One thing I dont get is

what does postly anonymously mean?? Do you want my name to make me more believable??I have no proof of Fulmer backstabbing Majors....I DO have proof of Majors ranting and raving to his superiors.."Common knowledge" to me doesnt equal proof...I dont doubt Fulmer was involved in the Majors deal..I just dont know is all Im saying.Strangely,I feel like we may be defending each other's position on this.. I think we might be on the same side..so let's just drop it..


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I can't help but notice that you're posting anonymously too, JohnnyBall. So can the sanctimony.



It's clearly problematic to provide links to 16-year-old news stories, so anything you get here is by definition going to be hearsay. It was common knowledge at the time -- and by common, I mean that everybody around campus knew it -- that Fulmer was part of what was going on; that he was actively angling for the job. That wouldn't pass muster in a court or a newspaper, of course, but as contemporary eyewitness testimony as to the prevailing belief on campus at the time, I think it rises to the standard required on an Internet message board. If you require more "proof" to avoid being offended, then perhaps message boards aren't for you.

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Old 11-04-2008, 10:06 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Here is the Fulmer version of the story - as told by Fulmer to my dad and other alumni on a golf trip during the summer of '92. Fulmer replaced Majors on this trip to Scotland because of Johnny's heart problems:

Fulmer said that a few years prior to '92, Majors had signed a new contract and told Phil it would be his last. He promised that he and Dickey would make sure Phil became head coach. Fulmer turned down several head jobs in the late 80s and early 90s (including Arkansas, I know).

As mentioned in earlier posts, Majors was demanding a new contract heading into the '92 season. Fulmer felt betrayed by Majors and told the alumni on this golf trip that if Johnny got a new contract, he would leave UT for a head job somewhere else.

No doubt he was applying that same kind of pressure to Dickey and others. No doubt that whole situation was much uglier than it needed to be. But imagine what UT football would be if Fulmer had left after the '92 season.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:10 AM   #51 (permalink)
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It was a story without heroes. Majors was a drunk and a jackass who pissed off enough important people that they were looking to get rid of him; Fulmer was a backstabber who took advantage of his boss's heart attack to elbow him aside. Not a pretty chapter in Tennessee history.
That's the version I heard most of the time.
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:21 AM   #52 (permalink)
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The only details I would add to this verison: Majors had a heart attack allowing Fulmer to be interim coach for the first few games until Majors returned.

Rumor is Fulmer told the AD he was planning to leave to take a HC job, if he wasn't offered the HC at Tennessee. At the same time Majors was campaigning for a new contract with a major pay increase and creating some bad blood.

So instead of giving Majors a large pay increase and a new contract, they decided to replace him with Fulmer who had been threatening to leave anyways.
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Old 11-04-2008, 06:41 PM   #53 (permalink)
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I was at UT during the Majors/Fulmer transition. Many of you know the facts in great detail. But the real "reasons" for things that happened are always going to be skeptical, even if you know the real reasons. There's just got to be more to it than x,y and z, and "that's what happened". I do know for a fact, personally, that J Majors wasn't the only one in his family that liked to drink. But, that's the only fact that I know.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:19 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Point blank

The Majors family is Tennessee royalty, and Johnny damn sure deserved better than he got. As for where UT football would be now if Fulmer had left? It is hard to say, but I think JM could have groomed a successor quite well. You see the Johnny Majors coaching tree is pretty impressive, Jon Gruden, Larry Lacewell, Walt Harris, Kippy Brown, Lovie Smith etc..... Philip Fulmer's has one branch named Cutcliffe.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:27 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Here is the Fulmer version of the story - as told by Fulmer to my dad and other alumni on a golf trip during the summer of '92. Fulmer replaced Majors on this trip to Scotland because of Johnny's heart problems:

Fulmer said that a few years prior to '92, Majors had signed a new contract and told Phil it would be his last. He promised that he and Dickey would make sure Phil became head coach. Fulmer turned down several head jobs in the late 80s and early 90s (including Arkansas, I know).

As mentioned in earlier posts, Majors was demanding a new contract heading into the '92 season. Fulmer felt betrayed by Majors and told the alumni on this golf trip that if Johnny got a new contract, he would leave UT for a head job somewhere else.

No doubt he was applying that same kind of pressure to Dickey and others. No doubt that whole situation was much uglier than it needed to be. But imagine what UT football would be if Fulmer had left after the '92 season.
If the situation was like that, you can't hardly blame Fulmer for doing what he did. Sounds like Majors made it easier to replace him by his actions.

I first starting keeping up with UT football about the time Johnny Majors became coach. At that time the team had been unranked for a while, and I can remember the excitement when UT finally broke into the top 20 (in those days the top 25 wasn't listed), and the the three SEC titles followed. But it was obvious, and IMO embarrassing, that the insecure Majors came running back too early from his health issues because the team was winning under Fulmer. He also didn't help himself by losing to Bama seven years straight.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:43 PM   #56 (permalink)
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I don't like Johnny. He is an alcoholic, and a 7-win caliber head coach.
You made that diagnosis all by yourself? What testing protocols did you use? What are your credentials?

Even assuming you are correct is that a reason not to like him? I don't like Dick Cheney- he has cardio-vascular disease.

Did you like Betty Ford? She was a self-described alcoholic. What about Ms. McCain? (Abused other substances.)

Ok, let's put aside the whole "is alcoholism is a disease debate." This still seems like a terribly judgmental position you have taken.

Even if one assumes it is a character flaw (which I do not concede) some of my best friends are alcoholics and pot heads.

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Old 10-26-2010, 05:10 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Here's closer to the whole story:

1. Majors was mostly a disappointment at Tennessee, as it became increasingly evident his soft schedule at Pitt and Jackie Sherrill's designed defense had more to do with their national "title" than Majors' coaching acumen. Majors' blew a great era at Tennessee where the SEC was mostly down in the 80's, without divisional play, with usually only 1 ranked SEC opponent a year, and yet from 1977 to 1988 we won the equivalent of the SEC east once and the title once thanks to Florida's probation (and no title game), we were rarely a ranked team throughout any season, we rarely went to premier bowls, and went 1-13 against Dooley's Georgia, Bear's Bama and Florida.

2. Majors skirted the edge of recruiting and NCAA issues, getting us close to serious trouble (which Dickey managed to quiet, and kept us out of major problems). Then, in 1989 Majors put Fulmer in control of the offense and recruiting, and both finally found superb consistency. Fulmer was then quickly being offered HC jobs, as Fulmer was to Majors what Malzahn is to Chizik. Most quality coaches on staff hated Majors and would leave Tennessee quickly, with that instability killing our consistency. Majors got Fulmer to turn down those HC jobs by promising him he would take over Tennessee in 93 or so.

3. Come 1992, Majors has a heart attack and Fulmer temporarily takes over the team, and the team plays better with more consistency than it ever did under Majors against quality foes, with big wins as an underdog in big games. Majors rushes back from the hospital, trying to hide who the real source of Tennessee's success was, all the while breaking his word to Fulmer, denigrating the UT President as a "hillbilly," insulting random fans, police officers, and important boosters alike, demanding a big contract and long extension, while embarrassing the program repeatedly along the way before losing on the field to bad teams (a true Johnny Majors' signature was not letting a season go by without some loss to some terrible team on the schedule, and usually more than once.)

4. Fulmer received the East Carolina offer and decided it was time to bolt, and much of the staff planned on going with him, due to their like of Fulmer as well as their hatred of Majors.

5. Majors then insulted a bunch of folks on multiple occasions, and gave Dickey the reasons needed to fire him and keep Fulmer instead. Majors went on to Pitt where, sans Fulmer or Sherrill, he performed abysmally as both a coach and a recruiter. He spent the next two decades calling Tennessee administrators "hillbillies" and trashing the program on Alabama talk radio, where he remains a favorite of Bama fans (the routine and regular whippings we received from Bama under his watch helped as well.) Majors' supporters would continue a campaign to blame Fulmer for Majors' firing and would instigate various "fire Fulmer" movements for years as well as rewriting history over and over again to where many of the younger Tennessee fans who didn't live through that era don't know much of our own modern history prior to Fulmer.

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Old 10-26-2010, 06:00 AM   #58 (permalink)
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I'm suprised to see you posting on a old thread like this. What you stated vegas is pretty much the story I heard from numerous older fans. I know one thing, my dad HATED TN football while Majors was here. I member he woulndn't even let me the Notre Dame game back in,.... Maybe 89, 90. Not sure. After Fulmer took over he would at least sit and watch it. After we won the NC in 98, he was the first person I thought of, "how bout them vols" sadly he passed away in 96 and I couldn't rub it in.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:08 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Here is the Fulmer version of the story - as told by Fulmer to my dad and other alumni on a golf trip during the summer of '92. Fulmer replaced Majors on this trip to Scotland because of Johnny's heart problems:

Fulmer said that a few years prior to '92, Majors had signed a new contract and told Phil it would be his last. He promised that he and Dickey would make sure Phil became head coach. Fulmer turned down several head jobs in the late 80s and early 90s (including Arkansas, I know).

As mentioned in earlier posts, Majors was demanding a new contract heading into the '92 season. Fulmer felt betrayed by Majors and told the alumni on this golf trip that if Johnny got a new contract, he would leave UT for a head job somewhere else.

No doubt he was applying that same kind of pressure to Dickey and others. No doubt that whole situation was much uglier than it needed to be. But imagine what UT football would be if Fulmer had left after the '92 season.
Boy... Vicki must really have it going on!! You'd never see me turning down one!
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:48 AM   #60 (permalink)
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Majors' heart condition caused him to miss the first 3 games of the 92 season,a win over Georgia @ Athens and a home win in the rain vs Fla..this caused Majors to jump out of his sickbed fully healed and try to take the reins of the team back..this caused a rift in the staff and amongst the players, who immediately after Majors came lost 3 straight games to Arkansas 25-24, eventuall NC Alabama 17-10 and then the loss at USC 24-23,when ANY of the 3 would have won the SECE for the team...this was compounded by Majors demands for more pay ,as he was at the time in the middle of the pack in SEC coaches..a tirade at the team hotel in Columbia in front of Joe Johnson,Doug Dickey and a couple other giant boosters sealed the deal on Johnny..it was also thought that at the time Fulmer was undermining Johnny with the AD and boosters, but I would be surprised if the deal was done as soon as he showed his ass in Columbia...Majors was nevver a player's coach..Phil was..and that was that~~~
pretty good description. Majors did return to coaching without clearing with his doctor and/or the Athletic Director. All were surprised.

Majors had been complaining about pay scale for sometime and demanding a higher salary. The indicident described in Columbia I think occurred back here in Tennessee in mid-week. Not the night prior to USC game. Was at a booster fund raiser. Majors former team mate was getting the brunt of his wrath that night. Very loud and very public.

The LSU game was a key turning point for the staff and players and led to the 3 game losing streak.

Majors went a little nuts because he had to settle for field goal right before the half instead of the team getting a TD. He berated the offensive staff as soon as they hit the locker room. Several staff members left the locker room with threats to quit. Fulmer talked them back in. UT went on to beat LSU 20-0 but the next month was not a pretty time in UT history.

I understand Fulmer did let Dickey know what happened in Baton Rouge and that coaches and players were likely to leave after the season if things continued to spin as they were.

I think with all that was happening as discussed above, it led to Majors being removed by Dickey.
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