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Darrell K. Royal, Oklahoma Football Player, Texas Coach, Passed Away
Austin-American Statesman ^ | November 7, 2012 | Staff

Posted on 11/07/2012 9:47:01 AM PST by af_vet_rr

Darrell K Royal, who coached the Longhorns to three national titles and became the biggest college football icon in a state that worships the sport, has died at age 88.

On the field, Royal was known for his play-calling genius, taking the biggest of risks in the biggest of games and coming out a winner more often than not. Off the field, he rose from humble beginnings during the depths of the Depression to become a homespun populist rivaling Will Rogers.

Royal was the winningest coach in University of Texas history, compiling a 167-47-5 record in 20 seasons from 1957 to 1976, and his name has been synonymous with Longhorn football for a half-century. Today, the Longhorns’ 100,000-seat stadium bears his name.

He is survived by his wife, Edith, and a son, Mack. Two of his children, Marian and David, preceded him in death.

In recent years, the legendary coach battled Alzheimer’s disease, but he did make one last appearance at a Longhorns football game this season, participating in the ceremonial coin toss before the Longhorns’ win over Wyoming.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: football; longhorns; sooners; texas
This is from a recent article discussing his fight with Alzheimer's:

“Day by day, Alzheimer’s disease is robbing Edith Royal of her beloved husband Darrell.

“He’s in his childhood now,” she said in an interview this week at the assisted living facility where they live. “Sometimes, you wonder if anybody is ever going to make a breakthrough fighting this disease.”

“Edith Royal is putting some of the family’s personal memorabilia up for auction Nov. 11 in Austin. Some of the proceeds will go to the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease launched earlier this year.”

“Laughter helps. Royal still manages to pull out the one-liners that made him a favorite with fans and reporters.

“The other day, he said, ‘Edith, I have to go to Hollis. Uncle Otis died.’ I said, “No, Darrell, Uncle Otis didn’t die.’ He said, ‘Well, Uncle Otis will be glad to hear that.’ You have to see the humor it in it sometimes,” Edith Royal said.

Sometimes Royal asks to speak to their daughter Marian and son David. Marian died in 1973 after her car was hit by a university bus. David was killed in in a motorcycle accident in 1982. “

Very sad, he was a great guy. I met him as a student during try-outs. While I didn't make the team, he remembered me, and after I had joined the Air Force, I ran into him in Austin while I was on leave visiting my folks, and he gave us some great tickets.

As nice and humble as he was, he could give as well as he could take - I remember his on-field and off-field battles with Barry Switzer. At one point he knew Switzer and the Sooners had been spying on them and cheating, and he was doing everything he could to call out Switzer and get Switzer to sue him for slander so he could get Switzer in court and under oath.
1 posted on 11/07/2012 9:47:09 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

Truly one of the greats. Loved his “let’s go for it” attitude. RIP Darrell.

2 posted on 11/07/2012 9:51:46 AM PST by wesagain (The God (Elohim) of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the One True GOD.)
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To: wesagain
Wikipedia had some of his quotes that defined his attitude:

Coach Royal was famous for the inspirational Royalisms he deployed as motivational tools. These sayings include:

• "God gives talent, size, speed. But a guy can control how hard he tries."
• "I want to be remembered as a winning coach, but I also want to be remembered as an honest and ethical coach."
• "You've got to think lucky. If you fall into a mud hole, check your back pocket--you might have caught a fish."
• "Punt returns will kill you quicker than a minnow can swim a dipper."
• "Don't matter what they throw at us. Only angry people win football games."

Those were taken from DKR: The Royal Scrapbook which was a really well done book that was recently published.

ESPN has a nice write-up about him

Above all, Royal laid the groundwork for the colossus of Texas athletics that stands astride intercollegiate athletics today. And he did so with courtliness and a wit as arid as the Oklahoma Plains where he grew up. Royal, a native of Hollis, was a product of the Depression and the deprivation of the Dust Bowl. Outside the soda shop in Hollis in the summer of 1942, he met Edith Thomason. They married two years later, when Darrell, by then an enlisted man, was 20 and Edith 19. She survives him after 68 years of marriage.

If there was a secret to Royal's success, it may have been his gift for communicating with people, be they his players, his fans or the many friends he collected over nearly nine decades of life. Whatever Royal achieved, he made sure to deflect attention to the people around him.

"He gave Emory Bellard credit for the wishbone," said Spike Dykes, a Royal assistant who coached Texas Tech for 13 seasons. "Instead of saying, 'We did it.' he said, 'That's Emory's deal.' He totally, completely, had no ego. And yet you never did have to figure out who was head coach. … There's just not that many people who are that good at what they do who don't have an ego."

Doug English, an All-American defensive tackle for Royal at Texas in the early 1970s who would join his coach in the College Football Hall of Fame, described Royal's gift as "colloquial efficiency."

Royal loved "pickers," the guitar-playing songwriters and singers who emerged out of Texas a generation ago and changed the face of country music. He loved their ability to turn a phrase, to say a lot in a single line of lyric, perhaps because he spoke that way, too -- with colloquial efficiency.

It was Royal who made famous the line, "We're gonna dance with who brung us," meaning that he would depend on the skills that his players had and not have them try to do something they couldn't.

James Saxton, the quarterback who in 1963 led Royal's first national champion, "could run like small-town gossip."

"A coach," Royal once said, "likes to have a lot of those old trained pigs who'll grin and jump right in the slop for him."

And there was the saying that captured the essence of the man and his life: "There ain't a hoss that can't be rode and there ain't a man that can't be throwed."

3 posted on 11/07/2012 10:01:15 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
I remember his team 70's team with the big running backs Coy, Burtleson and Wooster. A reporter asked him about the idea of putting so much into a powerful running game and he replied, "The way I see, there are three things that can happen when you throw the ball and two of them ain't good"

In either 69 or 70 they played Arkansas when they were #1 and the Hogs were #2 with the best defense in the country. Arkansas kicked off through the end zone and Texas took the ball on their 20. The ran three times for short gains and had 4th and 3, or maybe 4 deep in their own territory. They went straight to the huddle without a glance at the bench. The crowd started a low rumbling "WOOOO, WOOOO".

The big fullback Steve WOOster took the ball up the middle for a first down. They didn't show the best defense in the country a glimmer of respect and controlled the game from the beginning.

4 posted on 11/07/2012 10:02:07 AM PST by Baynative
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To: af_vet_rr

As an Arkansas Razorback fan I remember the games we played against him. Those were some great games and great times. Alzheimers sucks. Rest in peace Darrell. You deserve it.

5 posted on 11/07/2012 10:03:46 AM PST by BipolarBob (Willie Stark for president.)
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To: af_vet_rr
ESPN has a photo gallery up and an article about his decades-long friendship with Willie Nelson.

6 posted on 11/07/2012 10:07:31 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: BipolarBob
As an Arkansas Razorback fan I remember the games we played against him. Those were some great games and great times. Alzheimers sucks. Rest in peace Darrell. You deserve it.

Sports Illustrated mentioned his retirement with the Razorbacks' coach:

When Royal inherited the Texas football program, it was in such disrepair that Memorial Stadium was surrounded by barbed wire and a chain-link fence with tall grass growing around it.

"I was disappointed," Royal said of his first impression of Texas. "But I felt I could get changes made."

The biggest victory that first season came against Paul "Bear" Bryant's No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies, clinching the Longhorns' first winning season since 1953. Texas went on to have 19 consecutive winning seasons until Royal's last in 1976, when the Longhorns finished 5-5-1.

Royal's last game was a 29-12 victory over rival Arkansas. Afterward, he and Razorbacks coach Frank Broyles announced they were retiring.

Texas and Arkansas had some amazing games, and it was very fitting that he and Broyles retired together.
7 posted on 11/07/2012 10:10:46 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: wesagain

I remember in the 70s, Bear Bryant visited with Royal for some time to learn the wishbone.

They were long time friends.

8 posted on 11/07/2012 10:11:01 AM PST by yarddog
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To: af_vet_rr

The older I get the more I reflect on these great icons of a more gentle and simpler time.I grieve at their passing. As a kid I watched his team play on an old b/w tv and and knew that he and his teams were special.Though I idolized Bob Devaney, I thought Royal was also one of the best.
Well there will be some fine football tales being told in heaven and maybe God is not just a Cornhusker fan.. {:<D ..

9 posted on 11/07/2012 10:20:02 AM PST by Howe_D_Dewty
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To: wesagain; All




A good thing.

10 posted on 11/07/2012 10:20:31 AM PST by geologist (The only answer to the troubles of this life is Jesus. A decision we all must make.)
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To: af_vet_rr

A life well lived. I had not yet cried over the election, until this morning when I heard this news, & then the dam broke.

11 posted on 11/07/2012 4:30:20 PM PST by TropicanaRose
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