In 1986, the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team pulled one of the school’s most shocking upsets by beating the University of Miami in the Sugar Bowl. For longtime Vols fans who would like to know the inside story of how their team accomplished that feat, details are now available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Johnny Majors, a star football player at UT before becoming one of the school’s most successful coaches, has donated more of his personal papers to the State Library and Archives — more than doubling the amount of information that had previously been available.
Coach Majors originally donated some of the papers documenting his life and career to the State Library and Archives in 2004. However, the new addition increases the amount of materials included in the collection from about 30 cubic feet to more than 67 cubic feet. That material is available for the public to inspect during the library’s regular operating hours.
The addition includes many of Coach Majors’ game plans, letters to and from fans, personal calendars, photographs, scrapbooks, game programs, media guides, newspaper clippings and other game day materials.
“We are excited that Coach Majors has been so generous in donating materials to the State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “It is important to remember that our state’s history is not only told through the stories about our political leaders. It is also told through the stories of people from all walks of life who have contributed to making the Volunteer State the great place that it is today. I encourage other prominent Tennesseans — sports figures, entertainers, prominent business people and other civic leaders — to consider donating their papers to the State Library and Archives.”
As a player, Coach Majors led the UT football team to an undefeated season and nearly won the Heisman Trophy, the college sport’s highest individual honor. After a brief career in professional football, he became a college coach and won a national championship at the University of Pittsburgh. He then became UT’s head coach and brought his alma mater back to national prominence.
The John T. Majors Collection is available for review at the library building, which is located at 403 Seventh Avenue North, directly west of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville.
The library is open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, with the exception of state holidays.
Portions of Coach Majors’ collection are available in an online exhibit at: <http://www.tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/majors/exhibit_majors.htm>.