Nov 07, 2012

Legendary Coach Darrell K Royal Dies

Current coach Mack Brown, left, with Darrell Royal at a Feb. 29, 2012, reception before the Texas Sports Hall of Fame induction in Waco. Photo by Jerry Larson/AP/Waco Tribune Herald. 

By The Reporting Texas Sports Staff

Darrell K Royal, who won more football games than any other head coach in the history of the University of Texas, died Wednesday morning in Austin, his hometown for more than a half-century. He was 88.

Royal’s teams won three of Texas’s four national championships in his 20 seasons from 1957 to 1976. He never had a losing season as head coach, retiring with a record of 167-47-5.

He was the school’s athletic director from 1962 to 1980. His name was added to Texas Memorial Stadium in 1996.

Royal lived out his retirement in Austin, most recently in neighborhoods around the Barton Creek Resort & Club, where he played golf until his health deteriorated.

He and his wife, Edith, appeared in February at the Texas House of Representatives to announce the creation of the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease. In one of his final public appearances, Royal was present Sept. 1 at the Longhorns’ first football game of the season. He saw Texas beat Wyoming, 37-17.

Royal was born July 6, 1924, in Hollis, Okla. He was an All-American at the University of Oklahoma, where he played quarterback and defensive back. He coached two years at Mississippi State and one at Washington before he took over a Longhorn team that had won one game in 1956. Texas beat four nationally ranked teams in Royal’s first season, including No. 4 Texas A&M. His teams won national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970, the last two with the wishbone offense Texas pioneered.

Royal is survived by his wife and a son, Mack. He was preceded in death by a son, David, and a daughter, Marian.

He was known for winning games, preferring the rush over the pass, playing plenty of golf in retirement and relaxing in the company of country music singers such as Willie Nelson and Larry Gatlin.

“I want to be remembered as a winning coach,” he once said. “But I also want to be remembered as an honest and ethical coach.”

More on Darrell Royal:

The Austin American-Statesman package includes an obituary written by longtime sports columnist Kirk Bohls.

Willie Nelson’s site includes photographs with his longtime friend.

On Orangebloods, Chip Brown writes about a “humble giant.”

The official University of Texas football site has historical photos as well as condolences and remembrances from Frank Broyles and others dignitaries in and outside of sports.

Ivan Maisel on writes that “Royal meant more than wins.”

Dallas columnist Tim Cowlishaw remembers “his encounters” with the coach.

National obituaries include The Washington Post (written by Cindy Boren) and The New York Times (by Richard Goldstein).