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Majors speaks
Vol grid legend keynotes inaugural BHS Bash fund-raising effort for new football fieldhouse

With Johnny Majors’ keynote address, various Bearden High School football icons having their say, and fund-raising projections met, the inaugural Bearden Bash was labeled a success by BHS head coach Brad Taylor.

The Bash, also featuing a silent auction and live auction at The Foundry Friday, April 11, raised about $34,000 for a new Bulldog grid fieldhouse estimated to cost $750,000, Taylor said.

Jim Smelcher, former Bulldog head coach in the 1960s and 70s and a teammate of Majors at UT, introduced the legendary Vol player and head coach. “I’ve known Johnny Majors almost all my life … a friend and a buddy … great guy, great coach,” Smelcher said.

About the BHS fieldhouse effort, Majors said, “This fieldhouse or anything worth having comes with a high price. … Let’s get this thing done for the Bearden fieldhouse.”

Majors emphasized the importance of “character above all else,” leadership, loyalty and bouncing back from adversity as key qualities in football and life in-general.

Players mentioned included former Vol walk-on and NFL special teams standout Bill Bates, an ex-Farragut High School star. “Bill Bates was a great player, outstanding player, one of the best special teams players that ever played pro football,” Majors said.

Smelcher received high praise from another ex-Bearden grid coaching legend, Bill Young. “Coach Smelcher is obviously a legend … he’s the one we always try to match,” Young said.

The late Bill Wilson, BHS head coach in 2006 and long-time West skipper, was praised by his son-in-law, Bash chair Seth Grossman, for initiating the fieldhouse effort.

Young said Wilson “really had a passion about things to get things going in that direction.”

Taylor said John Cook Jr., ex-BHS standout and Vol player under Majors in the mid-80s, “was big on securing” Majors for the Bash.


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