The University of Texas at Austin and the Longhorn Nation mourn the loss of Coach Darrell K Royal, who died in Austin Nov. 7 at the age of 88. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Coach Royal was one of the most successful collegiate football coaches in the history of the game, and he led his teams to three national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970. He was an All-American player at the University of Oklahoma, but is most identified as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns from 1957 to 1976, compiling a record of 167-45-5. He continued to serve as athletics director at the University until 1980, a position he held for 18 years. The football stadium was renamed Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in his honor in 1996.
“Coach Royal was a tremendous football coach, athletic director and member of the community, and I’m proud to say he was a close friend,” said President Bill Powers. “More than anything else he was a great man, and we will miss him. Our prayers and thoughts go out to Edith and all of the Royal family.”
Royal will be remembered as a football innovator, a strong influence upon generations of players and colleagues, a passionate devotee of country music and a witty commentator whose homespun expressions have become legendary:
“Football games are decided from the twenty-yard line on in. All that other running and panting out in the middle of the field is just entertaining spectators and wearing out grass.”
“To be a successful team, you must bring all of the parts together and play as one heartbeat.”
“I want to be remembered as a winning coach but I also want to be remembered as an honest and ethical coach.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson once said of Royal, “I am not a football fan, but I am a fan of people and I am a Darrell Royal fan because he is the rarest of people.”
Coach Royal established a culture of excellence at the University that continues to this day. He is survived by his wife, Edith.
Read tributes to the coach in The Alcalde and Texas Sports. Read obituaries in the New York Times, the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and ESPN.com.
Share your memories of Coach Royal in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter using #DKR.
UT Athletics will host a public memorial service for Coach Royal on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at noon at the Frank Erwin Center. The event will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network, KVET AM 1300 The Zone, and streamed online here. The tower will be lit orange to honor Coach Royal.