Legendary Vols coach and player Johnny Majors dies at 85

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Former Tennessee player and head coach Johnny Majors looks up after his No. 45 jersey was retired before an NCAA college football game between Florida and Tennessee, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Johnny Majors, a towering figure in the Tennessee athletics community, has died. He was 85 years old.

“It’s with a sad heart that we make this announcement. John passed away this morning. He spent his last hours doing something he dearly loved: looking out over his cherished Tennessee River.”

Mary Lynn Majors in a statement to ESPN

University of Pittsburgh confirmed the passing of Majors on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Majors was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He was named SEC Player of the Year and garnered multiple All-American selections as a running back at Tennessee in the late 50’s.

Majors was named runner up for the 1956 Heisman Trophy. His no. 45 was retired by Tennessee in 2012.

After winning the 1976 National Championship as Pittsburgh’s head coach, Majors returned to his alma mater to coach the Volunteers. He led the Vols to the 1985 SEC Championship and back-to-back conference titles in 1989 and 1990. He finished with an overall coaching record of 185-137-10.

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