When Johnny Comes Marching Home

April 2, 2009

majors90

While I believe the jury on Lane Kiffin will still be out for some time, I have discovered at least one substantive positive score for Kiffin’s column.  According to Roy Exum of the Chattanoogan, Kiffin has brought Johnny Majors back into the Volunteer fold.

In his opinion piece this past Tuesday, Exum wrote:

I don’t know Lane Kiffin or much about him, but since he has become the football coach at the University of Tennessee I, along with millions of others who relish Saturday afternoons in the fall, have studied him with more than a passing interest. Thus far he’s said some dumb things, recruited some fabulous players and added a delicious blend of spice to the SEC stew…

That said, none of it mattered a bit one day last week when he walked towards a spring practice with a special man at his side. Had I been there I would have probably cried. Kiffin, in his finest moment since he told Oakland’s Al Davis he was nuts, has brought Johnny Majors back home.

[Read entire column]

That is good news. I may not be driven to tears, like Exum, but I agree this is a wonderful rectifying of a great blemish in the Big Orange family.  I was saddened – no, angered – when Majors was unceremoniously dumped nearly two decades ago.  Majors had been my coach in college, and it burned me up to see how things played out.

I have never agreed with the conspiracy theorists, including Majors himself, who postulated that Philip Fulmer had a hand in Majors’ ouster.  I knew Philip well enough that I don’t believe that is reflective of his character, nor his M.O.  I have always laid the blame at the feet of then-AD Doug Dickey, who botched several high profile moves and had an ego that would not even fit inside Neylnd Stadium. Still, because of that breach in relationship with Fulmer there was a ‘major’ void left at UT.

This is the first sign I’ve seen of Kiffin acknowledging the tradition of the Vols.  And it is a good sign.  If Kiffin is responsible for getting Johnny to come marching home, I applaud him.

5 Responses to “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”


  1. Did Johnny Majors come marching home because of Lane Kiffin or because Fulmer was no longer present?

  2. Dennis Griffith Says:

    Bill,

    I suspect Johnny came home because Fulmner is no longer there. Majors seems convinced that Fulmer played a part in orchestrating his ouster, so he has been all too happy to celebrate Fulmer’s. While I always liked Coach Majors, that part of this while thing is sad and disappointing. Still, I think it is good that he has come back to Tennessee.


  3. of course. I am sure that Kiffin is aware of the tradition of the Vols otherwise he wouldn’t have taken the job. Plus, I think he has done a good job arrousing interest in Tennessee football that was not there before which I think Majors commented something similiar in the press.

  4. Dennis Griffith Says:

    Bill,

    I m not so sure Kiffin is aware of the UT tradition. He knew it was a prestigious and high profile job. That’s not the same as appreciating those who made it that way. So far he, until bringing Majors in, he had given little specific appreciation for anything. In fact, he has been quite unappreciative of the program Fulmer built and left him. The cabinet is not bare – far from it.

    This week John Calipari has demonstrated how to assume leadership of a program and honor the tradtions. He has applauded those who went before him, by name. Kiffin has merely nodded his head at UT past eras. He seems to me far more consumed by his own status.


  5. Which might be his downfall.
    Comparing Lane Kiffin to John Calipari isn’t that fair to Lane Kiffin. Their not on the same level as coaches. I am not sure if Calipari knowing the traditions of Kentucky which he clearly demonstrated that he did during his press conference has anything to do with him winning at Kentucky. I think Calipari will win at Kentucky because he has won everywhere else he has been. My concern over Lane Kiffin is that it seems the only reason he has this job or any job prior to this is because who his father is, Monte Kiffin. Also, If he did not have a $3.5 million staff could he get the job done? I think not. Plus, What worked at SC or the PAC-10 isn’t neccesarily going to work in the SEC.

    That being said I still think he has a good chance to be successful at Tennessee. While he has not hit the field yet he has done one thing that he promised to do well in Knoxville and that is recruit. Even without Bryce Brown that is a pretty good class he reeled in.

    He may not choose his words the best all the time but he is confident in his vision and I think that should count for something.

    Their is a good article about Kiffin’s offense at Smartfootball.blogspot that.

    Defensively the cupboard is not bear in Knoxville but on offense they have no QB and an unproven offensive line. So they have plenty to work on. New OC Jim Chaney coached Drew Brees at Purdue with Joe Tiller so he should be able to mold Crompton into a good QB. The Vol offense will look something like a cross between the SC offense with the zone blocking schemes(see Alex Gibbs work with the Broncos and the Falcons)and what Chaney and Tiller did at Purdue. I think Lane Kiffin’s father Monte is an NFL hall of fame defensive coordinator and innovator of the Tampa 2 defense. He may not be around that long but for first few seasons I think they will benefit tremendously in the long run. I think 7-5 or 8-4 is not that crazy of an expectation.


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