Legendary Texas coach Darrell Royal dies at 88
A son of Depression-era Oklahoma, Darrell Royal came to Texas to take over a sleeping giant of a football program. Over 20 years, his folksy...
AUSTIN, Texas — A son of Depression-era Oklahoma, Darrell Royal came to Texas to take over a sleeping giant of a football program. Over 20 years, his folksy approach to sports and life, his inventive wishbone offense and a victory in the "Game of the Century" — where a U.S. president declared his team national champion — made him an icon of college football.
Royal, who won three national championships and turned the Longhorns into a national power, died early Wednesday at age 88 of complications from cardiovascular disease, a school spokesman said. Royal also suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
Royal didn't have a single losing season in his 23 years as a head coach at Texas, Mississippi State and Washington. His only Huskies team was 5-5 in 1956, and then he left for Texas. Known for stout defenses and punishing running attacks, his Texas teams boasted a 167-47-5 record from 1957 to 1976, the best mark in the nation over that period.
"It was fun," Royal told The Associated Press in 2007. "All the days I was coaching at Texas, I knew this would be my last coaching job. I knew it when I got here."
Under Royal, Texas won 11 Southwest Conference titles, 10 Cotton Bowl championships and national championships in 1963 and 1969, going 11-0 each time. The Longhorns also won a share of the 1970 national title, earning him a national stature that rivaled that of Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant and Ohio State's Woody Hayes. Royal was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
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