On Wednesday, legendary Texas football coach and former Longhorns Athletic Director Darrell Royal passed away. He was 88-years-old.
The University of Texas confirmed the news via their website this morning.
Royal, who began his head coaching career at Mississippi State in 1955 is best known for the 20 years he spent in Austin as a head coach, in which he brought the Longhorns to national prominence and three National Championships. He also served as athletic director of the school from 1962 to 1980, and in 1996 had the honor of Texas’ Memorial Stadium getting re-named “Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium” in his honor.
Royal’s presence was immediately felt upon his arrival in Austin in 1957, where the Longhorns went 6-4-1, after a 1-9 season the previous year. Over his 20 years on campus, he compiled a record of 167-47-5 and became the winningest coach in Texas history, finishing with seven 10+ win seasons (in an era where there were only 11 game regular seasons) and 10 seasons of at least nine plus wins. In the process he also won 11 Southwest Conference titles and 10 Cotton Bowls and never had a losing season.
Outside of just his record, Royal’s on-the-field accomplishments are well-documented as well. He brought the wishbone offense to Texas during the 1968 season, and immediately ripped of 30 straight wins, including a 1969 matchup with No. 2 Arkansas which was dubbed “The Game of the Century.” Royal and Texas won National Championships in 1969 and 1970 in addition to his first in 1963.
Since retiring as head football coach, Royal had served in a number of different roles in the Longhorns athletic department. He was Athletic Director until 1980, and later served as a special assistant for athletics to the president of the school. In the process, Royal was influential in bringing Mack Brown to Texas in 1997. Recently, Royal had suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, and had recently been moved to a nursing home.
Royal is also famous for speaking one of the most famous lines in all of football, when he said, “Three things can happen when you pass and two of ’em are bad."
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