"Did I tell you about the flags? Last year we beat Notre Dame and Georgia Tech our first two games, both on the road and, sonofagun, we come back home and we only draw 38,500 for Temple. I said the heck with this. We're going for No. 1, we got the best player in the world [ Tony Dorsett], we got to have more enthusiasm than this.
"I went on TV. I said, 'We ought to have more fun at Pitt. We aren't always going to look like champions; sometimes we'll look like Ned and the first primer, but we ought to have some fun.'
"And I told them my idea about the flags. I wanted them to wave green flags for 'go' when we were on offense, red flags for 'stop' when we were on defense. Like the Stop-N-Go stores. I wanted a new cheer for Dorsett, and a higher stand for the cheerleaders to stomp around on, and a guy on the mike getting people riled up. And I wanted those flags.
"We called Stop-N-Go. They said, sure, we could have the flags in a couple of weeks. I said, 'Heck, we need them Friday.' Henry Lee called all over the state, trying to find some cloth to make the flags. Finally, he found some. In Altoona. Huge bolts of red and green cloth. He had to send a truck to get it—$2,000 worth of cloth. I still don't know how we justified that one.
"We got a whole bunch of people in there to help, and we cut the cloth in shifts into little flags. And on Saturday we had them all passed out for the Louisville game.
"It rained like the devil and we only had 34,000 people there."
Majors laughed, and then, after a long pause, grew thoughtful. Admittedly, he said, at Tennessee the seats do not need filling. Every game is a sellout. In 1976 the Vols were the third-largest draw in the country, behind Michigan and Ohio State. The team's uniforms are fine, even beautiful. There is no need to scurry around trying to con some beef for the training table or cars for his coaches or cheers into the throats of partisans.
"But I'll find something to have fun with," Majors said. "I haven't been here long enough to know the problems, but there are always problems. The challenge right now is to build a team back to the championship level. Maybe that'll be fun enough. Tennessee hasn't won a national championship in 26 years. It hasn't won the SEC in seven. I think the people can be realistic about that.
"I sure didn't come here to be run off. Or to die on the vine. And I didn't come here to prove anything to Tennesseans. This is home, and I've got roots, but we made homes in Ames, Iowa, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, too. I won't be changing my personality. I'm here as much for my fulfillment as I am for Tennessee's.
"I'll have certain goals. I always have. I doubt, for example, that I could have left Pittsburgh if we hadn't beaten- Penn State last year. I had a thing about beating Joe Paterno, and finally we did. Like Bob Dillon said, 'You don't play Willie Hoppe, you shoot pool.' We shot pool last year and beat them pretty good.