The Tennessee Vols football program suffered a major loss last week with the passing of legendary former head coach Johnny Majors.
After I heard of Majors’ passing, I immediately went to google to relive some classic stories about the Tennessee native.
While reminiscing, I inadvertently came across a comment that Majors made about Butch Jones in 2013.
Proceed with caution. This might make you cringe if you’re a Tennessee fan.
From The Tennessean (via Mlive.com):
“I guarantee you it will be a better-coached football team than what’s been up there in eight or 10 years; probably 10 years at least,” Majors said in an interview with Mike Organ of The Tennessean. “Butch Jones is going to get it done; you mark this down on August the 12th. John Majors doesn’t know all, but John Majors can tell you who can coach and who cannot coach and Butch Jones can coach.”
At the time, that felt like a strong endorsement of Jones from Majors.
But knowing what we know now (which is that Jones wasn’t a good coach at all), I think it’s clear this comment wasn’t really about Jones. It was about Phillip Fulmer.
“The last 10 years” that Majors referenced in 2013 included the final five years of the Fulmer era.
Now, there were definitely a couple of down years near the end of Fulmer’s tenure (2005 and 2008). But there were also some good years — the Vols won the SEC East in 2004 and 2007. Also, no UT coach has beat Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in the same season since Fulmer in 2004.
That’s why I think it’s fairly obvious that Majors was using a football coach that had never coached a game at UT to throw some shade at Fulmer.
It’s no secret there was no love lost between Majors and Fulmer for how the 1992 season (and the end of Majors’ coaching career at Tennessee) went down. So it’s no surprise that Majors threw a well-placed jab at Fulmer from time to time (the Judas Brutus comment from Majors is a classic).
Featured image via AP/Danny Wilson