Former Tennessee Players and Coaches Share Memories of Johnny Majors

Volunteer Country Staff

A few former Tennessee coaches and players shared their favorite memories with former Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors recently — which were made public to the masses after Tennessee Football’s official Twitter account shared them as a special sneak peek for the ESPN Documentary: Johnny Majors, Straight Ahead.

One of the clips featured former Tennessee defensive back Charles Davis, who shared a hysterical story demonstrating just how much of a teacher Majors was during his time on Rocky Top. Majors was apparently unsatisfied with some of Davis’ coverage, so he decided to teach him how to do it himself.

“One day at practice, I remember it vividly,” said Davis. “Apparently I was really messing up coverage, and coach came hustling over, and remember he used to coach defensive backs, so he couldn’t wait to let me know — and the rest of our DB’s know — exactly how to do things. So he’s like, ‘Charles Davis how come you can’t see that, how come you can’t see these crossers, get out of the way let me show you — I’ll show you how a safety man plays it.’”

“Whenever he would take his hat, and turned it like this (Davis turned it backwards) that meant he was getting ready to demonstrate,” said Davis as he continued the story in laughter. “He would take his whistle and throw it over behind his back, and he would tell the offense, ‘Okay, run that play, I’ll show you how, I’ll show you how it’s done.’ And then that play happened, and it whizzed by, and (then Majors, who was unsatisfied, said), ‘Run it again, run it again!’ The second time they ran it, then coach turns to me undaunted and he says ‘Charles Davis, you messed up that coverage so badly that now no one can do it!’”

However, Davis wasn’t the only one who shared his praise of the late-Tennessee head coach. David Cutcliffe, who served as an assistant coach for both Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer, also contributed to the ESPN Documentary — which airs on Friday Night on ESPNU and will re-air on July 5th.

“Coach Majors for me epitomized the title ‘coach,’ said the current Duke Football head coach. “The title ‘coach’ in my opinion is an honorable one, and he took it to heart. The title ‘coach’ is an old hungarian word, that when it transitioned into the English language in England back in the day referred to a coach, but if you want to go into the Western Era of the United States a stagecoach.”

“But people got into a coach at a certain spot and that coach’s job was to deliver them to their desired destination,” said Cutcliffe. “I saw it through the years, I saw what Coach Majors did for his players, but what Coach Majors did for me is that he helped get me to a desired destination in my profession.”

If you miss ESPN’s touching tribute documentary to Majors on Friday, it will re-air on July 5th at 12:00 p.m. ET on WVLT-TV Channel 8 (only available to Knoxville and surrounding areas). However, don’t fret if you live outside of the Knoxville community, as we at VR2 of Sports Illustrated will publish more stories that were told by people close to Majors in the very near future.




Matthew Ray