AMES, Iowa – Former Iowa State head football coach Johnny Majors, the man responsible for turning around ISU football and leading it to its first-ever bowl game, has died. He was 85 years old. In 1971 he led the Cyclones to an 8-3 record and a spot in the Sun Bowl.
At the age of 33, Majors was hired to take over the Iowa State football program prior to the 1968 season. Majors faced a giant rebuilding project, as the Cyclones were a combined 4-15-1 the two seasons prior to his arrival. In 1971, Iowa State raced out to a 5-1 mark and ended the season at 8-3, securing the school’s first-ever postseason appearance by earning a bid to the Sun Bowl. Majors left Ames following the 1972 season for Pittsburgh winning the 1976 national title with a perfect 12-0 record. He later coached at his alma mater Tennessee for 16 seasons (1977-92) then coached three more seasons at Pittsburgh before retirement.