The legend has passed. Some men leave their mark on the world, others change it completely. Darrell K Royal was one of those men. Royal passed away Tuesday night at the age of 88 after battling Alzheimer's disease.
Texas Longhorn football, of course, is the first thing anyone thinks of when Royal's name is mentioned and his legendary status would be secure if only for that. But Royal was so much more.
He was an outstanding football player in his own right, even if he played for the arch-rival Oklahoma Sooners before seeing the light and coming to coach at Texas. He and his wife Edith together were some of Austin's great philanthropists, his support for Texas music — especially the songwriters — was nearly as legendary in those circles as his football.
And his football was the stuff of legends. Besides being known as the hardest working coach and the man who brought the wishbone offense to college football, he was also known as the consummate sportsman. A few accomplishments:
- All-American quarterback for Oklahoma
- The Texas Longhorns all-time winningest coach with a 167-47-5 record from 1957-76
- 20 consecutive winning seasons (he never had a losing season)
- Three National Championships
- 11 Southwest Conference titles
- Six-time Coach of the Year
- Induction into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
- Induction into the College Football Hall of Fame
- Namesake of Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
A year ago, the Royals created the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer's Disease. Donations can still be given to that fund.