Johnny Majors Classic coming to Pittsburgh, honoring beloved coach

This weekend marks another historic day on the North Shore. When the Tennessee Volunteers come to Acrisure Stadium Saturday to play the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, it will be the first time a team from the Southeastern Conference plays in Pittsburgh.

The game is part of a home-and-home series named the Johnny Majors Classic. The late coach led Pitt to a national championship in 1976 and Tennessee to three SEC Championships. He also was a standout player for Tennessee in the 1950s. Majors died in 2020 at the age of 85.

Pittsburgh native Glenn Streno, who played for Majors at Tennessee, is coming home for the game and bringing more than 70 of his friends, all to honor the coach they loved.

Streno was born and raised in Beechview, and told Channel 11′s Alby Oxenreiter he actually grew up a Pitt fan.

“My father was a mailman in Oakland, and when he ran his Saturday morning route he would ask for tickets, which he got fairly often. He would call home, and I would grab a friend and take a streetcar into town and take a bus to Oakland to meet my father.  We’d walk up the hill to the stadium to go to the games. As a kid, that was just a special time,” Streno said.

Streno stayed a Pitt fan until, as a senior offensive lineman at Seton-Lasalle High School, Tennessee coach Johnny Majors came calling.

“I was a Coach Majors fan when he was at Pitt. So, he came back and recruited me, and being a Coach Majors fan, that was a big draw for me,” Streno said.

Streno played center for the Volunteers from 1980-1983. Now, he and some of his teammates are set for a trip from Knoxville to Streno’s home turf to honor the memory of Coach Majors.

“Being from Pittsburgh and growing up a Pitt fan, Pitt was always a special place to me. And I love Pittsburgh and always will. Anyone who knows me and talks to me knows that I’m a Pittsburgh guy. I always talk about Pittsburgh. And to be able to (go) back home, we have a large group attending the game and I’m proud to show it off,” Streno said.

Streno said the idea to come home for the game started about a year ago, when he asked a few friends if they were interested.

“I told them I can throw a weekend together to just show you around Pittsburgh, go have dinner, whatever, and the idea just blew up. We bought 75 tickets to the game and I have a bus scheduled for Friday night to take us around,” Streno said.

Along the way, he and the others will remember the coach who meant so much to both universities.

“The Johnny Majors Classic is so perfect. I’m glad the schools got together to do that and honor Coach Majors. He would’ve been thrilled to be on that field Saturday,” Streno reflected.

Saturday’s game is the second one in the Johnny Majors Classic. Pitt traveled to Tennessee last September to honor the coach in Knoxville. Pitt won that game 41-32. This weekend’s game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Acrisure Stadium.

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