Memorable Johnny Majors quotes on his tenure as Pittsburgh’s head coach

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Tennessee will host Pittsburgh in the Johnny Majors Classic Saturday at Neyland Stadium (noon EDT, ESPN).

Former Tennessee player Johnny Majors served as Pittsburgh’s head coach from 1973-76 and 1993-96, winning the 1976 national championship.

He left Pittsburgh following the 1976 national championship season, returning to Tennessee as the Vols’ head coach. Majors won three Southeastern Conference championships during his tenure as the Vols’ head coach from 1977-92.

Majors was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He was an All-American tailback for the Vols in 1956 and a two-time Southeastern Conference MVP in 1955-56.

Majors died in June 2020.

Ahead of Saturday’s Johnny Majors Classic, the University of Pittsburgh provided memorable quotes from Majors in a press release of his head coaching career with the Panthers.

Below are quotes from Majors.

Johnny Majors upon his arrival at Pitt in Dec. 1972

University of Pittsburgh head coach Johnny Majors, left, and Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian walk off the field shaking hands after the Irish beat the Panthers 31-10 in Pittsburgh, Nov. 10, 1973. The win keeps alive the Irish hopes for an expected Sugar Bowl bid, while snapping Pitt's four-game winning streak. (AP Photo)

"Nothing great was ever achieved without pride and enthusiasm."

Johnny Majors on how he recruited his freshman class at Pitt

In this 1973 file photo, Pittsburgh NCAA college football coach Johnny Majors gestures from the sideline in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, File)

"I sold the band without the instruments. But I had the instruments when they showed up."

Johnny Majors after watching Tony Dorsett in a high school all-star game

In this Aug. 23, 1976, file photo, University of Pittsburgh head coach Johnny Majors is shown with All-American halfback Heisman Trophy candidate Tony Dorsett, right, and middle guard Al Romano, left, during Fan Appreciation Day at Pitt Stadium in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/MK, File)

"Yahoo! We got a tailback!"

Johnny Majors following Pitt's 1975 Sun Bowl victory

Oct 8, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA; Pittsburgh Panthers former head coach Johnny Majors looks on against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first quarter at Heinz Field. PITT won 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

"People know who Pitt is, and they've known it for a long time. And they know now that we're here to stay, and play, and to win."

Johnny Majors on his lax team curfews prior to the 1977 Sugar Bowl

In this 1976 file photo, Pittsburgh head coach Johnny Majors gestures from the sideline during a college football game in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, File)

"I've had this team four years. I've watched them grow up. There were times when I had to lock the door and throw away the key, but not now. They're men now."

Johnny Majors on his 1976 Pitt team

In this Jan. 3, 1977, file photo, University of Pittsburgh coach Johnny Majors carries the Sugar Bowl trophy after Pittsburgh beat Georgia 27-3 to win the NCAA college football national championship, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/File)

"I don't think I've ever seen a team that won a national championship that had more complete balance. We had the complete arsenal in 1976."

Johnny Majors on his decision to leave Pitt and return home to Tennessee in 1977

Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors, second from right, talks with his sophomore quarterback Jimmy Streater (6) before going back on the field against California in their home opener. But California spoiled the return of the Vols head coach Johnny Majors as coach of his alma mater with a 27-17 victory before a record crowd of 84,421 fans at Neyland Stadium Sept. 10, 1977. © J.T. Phillips / The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC

"The most difficult move I ever made in my life."

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