RIP Darrell Royal — Legendary Texas Football Coach Dies at 88
Darrell K. Royal, the University of Texas football coach who won two national championships as the leader of the Longhorns, died this morning at the age of 88.
Multiple news outlets, including ESPN, report that University of Texas spokesman Nick Voinis confirmed Royal’s death. One of the founders and perhaps most creative coach of the wishbone offense had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and recently fell at an assisted living center.
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.
A staunch believer in the running game, Royal hated to pass. “Three things can happen when you pass, and two of ‘em are bad,” he was known to say.”
In 1996 The University of Texas named its football stadium after the coach, calling it Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Rest in peace, coach.