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    Campus & Community

    Legendary Coach Darrell K Royal Dies at 88

    By Cory Leahy
    University Communications
    Published: Nov. 7, 2012

    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.

    Darrell K Royal

    Jenna McEachern’s recent book, “DKR: The Royal Scrapbook,” chronicles the coach’s life. Watch an interview with the author.

    Darrell K Royal

    Longhorn Network looks back at the life and legacy of legendary Texas Football coach Darrell K Royal.

    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. 


    • Quote 2
      Mark G White said on Nov. 16, 2012 at 7:00 a.m.
      I attended the University from 1967 - 71 and thus saw some of the better football teams. Who among us can forget the 1969 and '70 teams? Amidst all of this excitement was the cool and confident Coach Royal. We will miss him. Thanks for publishing this nice piece about the Coach. M.G. White, BSChE 1971.
    • Quote 2
      Linda J. Hargrave said on Nov. 15, 2012 at 4:08 p.m.
      I remember the night in Gregory Gym in early 1957 when Coach Royal was introduced to the student body at a basketball game - to great applause and cheers. Little did we know at that time what a fantastic turnaround was about to begin for the Longhorns and a new era for the University. As stated in the 1958 Cactus: "The 1956 season ended with a 1-9 record for Texas but under the direction of a new head coach, Darrell Royal, the sophomore filled team managed a 6-4-1 record topped off with a Sugar Bowl invitation to end a very fine 1957 campaign" Dr. Linda J. Hargrave B.A. - 1958 Denver
    • Quote 2
      David Block said on Nov. 15, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
      I'm an Arkie, can't be helped, and went to school in Fayetteville when Texas and Arkansas often played for leadership of the free world. We didn't like losing to Texas, although we didn't always, but we knew that, win or lose, Darrell Royal was a worthy adversary and a fine man.
    • Quote 2
      Tom Clark said on Nov. 15, 2012 at 2:44 p.m.
      I'm very much a "northern boy". but I attended UT--Austin 1969-1972 during the height of the Royal years. Got my MA in Geology (1972) from one of the best programs in the country and recently retired after 39 years in the field. DKR and LBJ are initials synonymous with Texas that will always be remembered. Occasionally up here in the north I'll see an orange UT cap or t-shirt. When I raise the hook'em horns fingers, I inevitably get a smile. TC
    • Quote 2
      Danny Mullen said on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:16 a.m.
      Although Coach Royal was most closely identified with The University of Texas, he was a beloved figure in Oklahoma as well. I got to know him well over the years and he never forgot his roots. The man was total class and he will be missed by everyone he touched. He was a great coach and an even better man.
    • Quote 2
      Letty Fernandz '78 said on Nov. 13, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
      I watched the service from my computer and it was just beautiful. The words that were spoken captured this legend of a man..the music from Willie and of course a perfect ending with the Longhorn Band and the Eyes of Texas. We will never forget Coach Royal. He was simply the best!
    • Quote 2
      Thomas Layng said on Nov. 11, 2012 at 5:06 p.m.
      Here is the service information for the funeral. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/statesman/obituary.aspx?n=darrell-k-royal&pid=160956427&fhid=5106&f=portal
    • Quote 2
      Dennis T. said on Nov. 10, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.
      I will always remember Coach Royal's and Arkansas' Frank Broyles as best friends, both on and off the field, playing golf together etc. In the 1960's, it was always Texas or Arkansas, #1 and #2 playing for the National Championship or one knocking the other one out of the National Championship game! I will always remember our offense running the Wishbone during my first year of football in 1970 back in Arkansas. Thanks Coach for bringing Emory Bellard's creation to college football. Without your decision, college football as we know it today would never be the same. You are a legend that are going to miss very much.
    • Quote 2
      Julie Brighton said on Nov. 8, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
      What a great innovator in the history of football! Thank you for reminding us of this legend.
    • Quote 2
      Harold Levine '71 said on Nov. 7, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.
      Coach Royal gave us so many exciting times and memories and instilled in so many of us Texas-Exes the Longhorn spirit that will be with each of us until our final breath...we salute you Coach Royal by holding our Horns up high...
    • Quote 2
      Raul Gonzalez said on Nov. 7, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.
      Simply put - A GREAT MAN - another Texas Legend passes on to coach up in Heaven. Texas was very lucky to have him. RIP.
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