Elmira football great Gary Tyra remembers Johnny Majors


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – An Elmira legend learned from one of the best coaching minds ever.

Gary Tyra, an Elmira native who played at the University of Pittsburgh at linebacker, lost his college head coach on Wednesday. Johnny Majors, who orchestrated the 1976 National Championship season for the Panthers, died at age 85.

Majors was a true old school coach who had the ability to get the most out of every player, including Tyra. After making the transition from Elmira Southside High School in the 1970’s, Tyra worked his way into the lineup for a very talented Panther team. Tyra played with the likes of Heisman Trophy Winner, Tony Dorsett, and plenty more.

Tyra tells 18 Sports about the legacy Majors will always have in Pittsburgh and the entire football world. Majors was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1956 as a player and went on to win three SEC titles as a head coach at Tennessee for the Volunteers, his alma mater, before returning to Pitt in 1993. He then retired in 1996 after nearly four decades in coaching.

Majors went on to be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987. Tyra believes that Majors brought Pitt football back to prominence, especially after their 1976 season that was perfect at (12-0).

Watch this special story with Tyra as he dives into the love, passion, and impact Majors had on the game and life.

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