The man, the coach, the legend, former Texas coach and college football innovator Darrell K. Royal passed away at the age of 88 in Austin. Born on July 6, 1924 in Hollis, Oklahoma where he graduated high school in 1942 and then joined the United States Army Air Corps and played football for the 3rd Air Force team during 1945 where he was recruited by University of Oklahoma scouts. After serving in the military, he attended the University of Oklahoma and played football for the Sooners and played Quarterback and Defensive Back under legendary coach Bud Wilkinson from 1946-1949. His 18 career interceptions and three in one game are still Sooner Records today. As a Quarterback he had a 16-1 record as a starter and was 11-0 his senior season of 1949.
After his college playing career was over he served as an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Tulsa and Mississippi State and then took over as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. In 1954, After one season in the CFL, he began his college head coaching career returning to coach the Bulldogs at Mississippi State. After two seasons in Starkville, he went to Seattle and coached at the University of Washington for one season before coming to the University of Texas in December of 1956.. In one season, Royal turned the Longhorns from a team with a record of 1-9 the previous season to a 6-4-1 record and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. In Royal's 20 seasons as the head coach of the Longhorns he never had a losing season, guiding the Longhorns to the 1963, 1969 and 1970 National Championships, along with 11 Southwest Conference Championships. Coach Royal introduced the Wishbone offense to major college football in 1968 and the offense dominated college football for parts of four decades.
Royal retired from coaching after the 1976 season and stayed on as University of Texas Athletic Director, he retired as AD in 1980. He was awarded as Coach of the Year multiple times, in 2000 he was awarded the Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement award and the 2010 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, a member of the Texas and Oklahoma Sports Halls of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1998, Texas Memorial Stadium was renamed Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium. Long after his retirement, Royal was a mainstay on the University of Texas campus and will be missed by everyone associated with the University and Texas fans.
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