Darrell Royal dies at age 88

by Travis Normand

College football lost another legend today as Darrell Royal has passed away at the age of 88.  As a Texas Aggie, I have a lot of respect for Coach Royal and for what he did for the game of college football.

Obtaining the informal status of “Legend” is becoming harder and harder to do.  However, there is no question that Royal was one of the most well-known Legends of this great game.

Click HERE to see Darrell Royal’s Wikipedia page for a short bio on Royal’s life

Royal was head coach at the University of Texas for 20 years (1957-76).  During this span he compiled a record of 17-3 against Texas A&M.  His first game against A&M was in 1957 where he defeated Bear Bryant’s last Texas A&M squad (before Bryant took the head coaching job at Alabama).  This same 1957 Texas Aggie football team featured A&M’s only Heisman winner, John David Crow.

Royal and his Longhorns won ten straight games against the Aggies from 1957 to 1966.  Royals first loss to A&M came in 1967 by a score of 10-7.  This 1967 Aggie team was coached by Bryant disciple Gene Stallings.  After defeating the Longhorns, the Aggies played in the Cotton Bowl against Bryant’s (No. 8) Alabama squad on January 1.  The Aggies won that game 20-16.  Royal won the rest of the games against Stallings and the Aggies (1968-71).

In 1972, the Aggies head coach was a guy by the name of Emory Bellard.  Bellard attended the University of Texas where he played football his freshman year under head coach Dana X. Bible (Bellard transferred to Southwest Texas State after breaking his leg).  In 1967 (the season that saw Royal’s first loss to Texas A&M), Bellard was hired by Royal as linbackers coach for the University of Texas.  Bellard was moved to offensive coordinator in 1968 where he developed and implemented the wishbone formation.  However, in 1972, Bellard found himself as the head man at Texas A&M.  One of Bellard’s defensive assitant coaches was a man by the name of RC Slocum.

Royal defeated Bellard’s Aggies in 1972, ’73, and ’74.  However, Bellard was able to win twice against Royal’s Longhorns, once in 1975 and again in 1976.  The 1975 loss was the Longhorn’s only conference loss on the season as they finished the 1975 season 10-2 (overall) and 6-1 in the Southwest Conference.  1976 was Royal’s last season as head coach of the Longhorns.

Emory Bellard “left” Texas A&M after the 1978 season and became the head coach at Mississippi State (1979-’85).  Mississippi State was Darrell Royal’s first college head coaching job in 1954 and ’55.  MSU was also the final coaching stop for Aggie head coach Jackie Sherrill.

Click HERE to read “Oklahoma Boy, Texas Legend”

News story from ESPN.com:

Darrell Royal dies at age 88
ESPN.com News Service
November 7, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — Darrell K Royal, the former Texas football coach known as much for his folksy, simplistic approach to life as for his creative wishbone offenses and two outright national championships, has died. He was 88.

University of Texas spokesman Nick Voinis on Wednesday confirmed Royal’s death. Royal had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and recently fell at an assisted living center where he was receiving care.

Royal took over as head coach at Texas at age 32 in 1956 after starring as a halfback for Oklahoma and then taking head coaching jobs at Mississippi State and Washington.

In 23 years as a head coach, he never had a losing season, with his teams boasting a 167-47-5 record in his 20 years at Texas, the best record in the nation over that period (1957-76).

Royal won 11 Southwest Conference titles, 10 Cotton Bowl championships and national championships in 1963 and 1969, going 11-0 each time. Texas also won a share of the national title in 1970 when it was awarded the UPI (coaches) national championship before losing to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. The UPI awarded its title before bowl games were played. Nebraska won the AP national title that year.

The national title season in 1969 included what was dubbed the “Game of the Century,” a come-from-behind 15-14 victory by the top-ranked Longhorns over No. 2 Arkansas in the final game of the regular season.

Always a proponent of a strong running game, Royal is often quoted as saying: “Three things can happen when you pass and two of ’em are bad.

Asked later in his coaching career if he might switch to a passing attack, Royal said, you’ve got to “dance with the one who brung ya.

In 1968, Royal installed the wishbone, with the fullback lined up 2 yards behind the quarterback and a step up in front of the other two backs. With that formation, Royal’s teams won 30 straight games and a record six straight SWC championships.

Royal’s teams won more SWC games (109) and more overall games (167) in 20 years at Texas than those of any coach in league history.

He also served as Texas athletic director from 1962-79 before becoming a special assistant for athletic programs to the UT president. In that capacity, he was influential in the hiring of Mack Brown as football coach in 1997.

Texas honored Royal in 1996 by renaming Texas’ football stadium Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium.

In announcing the name change, UT System chancellor William Cunningham said, “No individual has contributed more to athletics at UT-Austin than Darrell Royal. He is a living legend.”

Royal was close friends with former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who attended Texas football games once his presidency ended.

“I’m not a football fan,” Johnson said. “But I am a fan of people, and I am a Darrell Royal fan because he is the rarest of human beings.”

Royal, who acknowledged being unconcerned about racial discrimination for much of his life and had all-white teams up until 1969, credited Johnson with turning around his viewpoint.

Royal had a folksy, straightforward approach to football and life that credited hard work as well as luck for his success.

He was among the first football coaches in the nation to hire an academic counselor to ensure athletes went on to graduate. He also set aside a fund for a special “T” ring, which he personally awarded to his players upon their graduation.

He was a stickler for following the rules, even when he disagreed with them.

In 1976, Royal accused then-Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer of sending a spy to Texas practices, a violation of NCAA rules if the scout was reimbursed for his work.

Royal challenged Switzer to take a lie detector test over the matter and said he would resign as coach at Texas if Switzer passed it. Switzer refused, and the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry took on added intensity.

Royal was the youngest of six children born to Katy and B.R. “Burley” Royal and grew up in tiny Hollis, Okla., where he chopped cotton as a young boy to help his family through the Depression.

His mother died before he was 6 months old, and he lost two sisters to a fever epidemic before he reached the age of 11.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

See the original report on ESPN.com

Darrell Royal’s wife plans auction of memorabilia:

Darrell Royal’s wife plans auction of memorabilia
Monday, Nov. 05, 2012
The Associated Press

. . . Edith Royal is putting some of the family’s personal memorabilia up for auction Sunday in Austin. Some of the proceeds will go to the Darrell K. Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease, launched this year.

The items at auction trace his life from the scrappy kid growing up in the poverty of the Dust Bowl in Hollis, Okla., to his rise as one of the great coaches in college history. Royal coached Texas from 1957 to 1976, won 11 Southwest Conference titles and introduced an innovation known as the wishbone offense to major college football in 1968.

Notable items include a diamond pendant commemorating the 1963 national championship and a diamond ring from the Longhorns’ 2006 BCS championship game victory over Southern California. There are footballs, belt buckles, game programs from Royal’s first two seasons with the Longhorns (1957-1958) and dozens of autographed books, photographs and sideline passes. . . .

Read the entire story HERE

Series between the Texas Aggies and Texas Longhorns during Darrell Royal’s time as Head Coach:

Year Aggies W/L Score Game Notes
1957 L 7-9 Paul “Bear” Bryant and John David Crow
1958 L 0-27
1959 L 17-20
1960 L 14-21
1961 L 0-25
1962 L 3-13
1963 L 13-15
1964 L 7-26
1965 L 17-21 Gene Stallings’ first season as HC
1966 L 14-22
1967 W 10-7 Defeated (8) Alabama 20-16 in Cotton Bowl
1968 L 14-35
1969 L 12-49
1970 L 14-52
1971 L 14-34 Gene Stallings’ last season
1972 L 3-38 Emory Bellard’s first season as HC
1973 L 13-42
1974 L 3-32
1975 W 20-10 Longhorns finish 10-2; 6-1
1976 W 27-3 Royal’s last season as Longhorns’ HC


1 thought on “Darrell Royal dies at age 88

  1. Pingback: Week 11 Preview and Picks: Bust a Move « Matt's Picks 2 Click

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s