Majors speaks at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 8)jh76

Interview with Johnny Majors after 1982 Kentucky game

I got to Johnny Majors at the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting on Nov 7, 2011.

Jim Harris wrote these words about the connection between the Arkansas and Tennessee football programs:

Former Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles was all for Tennessee as the Hogs’ regular SEC East rival, not only because of the state’s proximity to eastern Arkansas, but because the two football programs shared a deep bond.

Majors recounted that “kinship,” as he called it, before a crowded Embassy Suites ballroom Monday.

When Majors left an assistant coaching job at Mississippi State to join Broyles’ staff in 1964, what caught his eye before the opening game that year were the same “7 Maxims” for winning football that Gen. Robert Neyland had preached for years in Knoxville.

Longtime Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Dodd was a protege of Neyland’s before moving to Atlanta to make the Ramblin’ Wreck a perennial power in the 1940s and ’50s. Broyles played for and coached under Dodd, and he learned those Neyland maxims from Dodd.

Bowden Wyatt, who also played under Neyland, coached two seasons at Arkansas before being wooed away by his alma mater in 1955. In 1956, Wyatt had completely turned the Vols back around to a 10-0 team led by a do-it-all tailback named Johnny Majors.

Wyatt was hired at Arkansas by John Barnhill, who was a longtime Neyland assistant before filling in for the general as UT head coach in 1942 and ’44-45. When Neyland returned from WWII, Barnhill didn’t want to go back to being an aide and instead took the opening at Arkansas. He turned the Razorbacks into a winner and created the Razorback Clubs in the process, bringing the Hogs to Little Rock regularly for huge games, and becoming “the father of Razorback football,” Majors said Monday.

Maybe there is little to recognize these days between Arkansas, led by Montana native Bobby Petrino, and Tennessee, led by Derek Dooley, son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley.

But look a little deeper and fans will see that “kinship” as Majors called it. It’s a shame the continued expansion of the SEC means that Arkansas and Tennessee will meet even less regularly in coming years. But Majors believes Dooley, who he said inherited a program that was on a seven-year slide, is the right man for Tennessee and will need at least three year to get the Vols competitive again.

When that happens, maybe Hog fans and Vols backers can meet in Atlanta at the SEC Championship some day.

Tagged: Houston Nutt, Little Rock Touchdown Club, Johnny Majors, Bobby Petrino, Derek Dooley, Tennessee Volunteers, Frank Broyles, Ole Miss Rebels, Pete Boone

Below is a picture of Lane Kiffin with Johnny Majors.

Image Detail

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