Monday, December 31, 2012

Iowa State Fans Still Love Johnny Majors

What is with the Iowa State fans and their love with the Johnnies?

I have written about the Cyclone fan’s affection for former basketball coach Johnny Orr. Now, the love fest has turned to former football coach Johnny Majors.

The Iowa State football opposes Tulsa Monday afternoon at the Liberty Bowl. Majors took the Cyclones to the Liberty Bowl in 1972. So it’s a reunion of sorts and Majors is in Memphis to cheer on the present Cyclone squad.

Majors was a young coach when at the Iowa State helm. He later won a national championship with Pittsburgh and coach at his alma mater Tennessee. Still, Iowa State claims Majors as one of its own. And with good reason. Majors took the Cyclones to two bowl games in a day when bowl game numbers were small and the records were respectable. Plus, Iowa State had no bowl tradition.

Majors proved Iowa State could win football games. It took a long time but Dan McCarney and present coach Paul Rhoads finally restored the winning ways.

My high school memories of Majors and his Iowa State program are a bit fuzzy. But I do remember it was big deal when Majors took the Cyclones bowling. Other programs noticed Majors too and it wasn’t long before his era in Ames, Iowa was over.

Many memories are fun. That’s why Iowa State celebrates a Johnny’s place in Cyclone football history.

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