R.I.P. — Coach Darrell Royal

Former University of Texas football and Texas legend Darrell Royal has died at age 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 (1957-1976).

Royal won 11 Southwest Conference titles, 10 Cotton Bowl championships and national championships in 1963 and 1969, going 11-0 each time.

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 two 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 any coach in league history.

Rest in peace coach and Hook ’em.

5 comments to R.I.P. — Coach Darrell Royal

  • A class act. Rest in peace coach, we will miss you.

  • Any coach with a Paterno-esque run-first, second and third mentality (and that great “2 outtta three is bad” rationale to support it) always had my respect. RIP, Coach Royal.

  • Scott M.

    One of the greatest ever.Miss the old Southwest Conference,Darrell Royal and Frank Broyles at Arkansas.Arguably the greatest college football game ever was Texas at Arkansas,1969.Watched it on TV,11 years old.15-14,Longhorns.

  • Now this is cool: On Wednesday afternoon, head coach Mack Brown tweeted that his team would indeed honor DKR by starting the first play against Iowa St. in his trademark formation:

    Today we mourn the loss & Sat we celebrate. We’ll wear a DKR decal on our helmet & we’ll honor coach by lining up in wishbone to start game

    — Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) November 7, 2012
    It will be an incredible tribute that will surely leave few dry eyes in the stadium on Saturday morning.

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