PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – John Majors, the former Pitt Football coach that led the Panthers to a National Championship in 1976, has died at age 85.

Majors died Wednesday at his home in Knoxville, according to his wife.

Majors coached the Panthers two separate times throughout his coaching career. Once from 1973-1976, and then again from 1993-1996. He lead them to the 1976 national championship.

He was a native of Lynchburg, Tennessee, and was inducted into the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Majors compiled a 185-137-10 record in 29 seasons as a head coach at Iowa State, Pitt and Tennessee. In his playing days, he finished second to Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung in the 1956 Heisman Trophy balloting. Majors was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Director of Athletics Heather Lyke said in a news release, “Coach Majors set a standard at Pitt that all of us—coaches, student-athletes and administrators—continue to be inspired by. His championship legacy resonates in our department to this very day. On a personal note, it was such an honor to welcome him back for enshrinement in the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame last fall. Coach Majors always told me, ‘Pitt people are as passionate and loyal as they come.’ I think that description also perfectly describes him. He remained so loyal and committed to Pitt.”

Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement, “From the time I arrived at Pitt, Coach Majors was always incredibly supportive and so enthusiastic about Pitt and our football program. We have so many reminders around our facility of Coach Majors and his time here: the photos, bowl trophies and, of course, the 1976 national championship trophy. He is a coaching legend and his impact on Pitt will never be forgotten.”

Pitt Football legend Tony Dorsett released this statement, “I am saddened upon hearing of the passing of my beloved coach, Johnny Majors. He was more than just an integral part of my college football career; he was a dear friend who continued his relationship with me far beyond my playing days. He took a young high school kid and showed him how to be a leader and a man. My prayers are with his family, the Pitt community and all the players and coaches who have been a part of his life. Rest in heaven, Coach.”

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