NORMAN — Oklahoma officials expressed their condolences on the passing of former Sooner All-American and Texas coach Darrell Royal.
“The University of Oklahoma joins the rest of the nation in celebrating the life’s work of Darrell Royal,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. “We’ve truly lost an icon — a champion, an innovator and an educator. As an All-America player at the University of Oklahoma, he represented his home state with a unique versatility that we still celebrate today. Without question, he left an even more indelible mark on collegiate athletics during his distinguished coaching and administrative tenure at the University of Texas, where he made an immeasurable impact on the University and the countless individuals he touched.”
OU coach Bob Stoops said he never met Royal, but was impressed with what he accomplished.
“I know what a great player he was here and then to read his coaching resume today was really amazing,” Stoops said after Wednesday’s practice. “He was a special coach for a long period of time. He was an innovator with the wishbone (offense), but also all the championships. His series of winning; it was remarkable to read it. We’re all proud of him here and sad that this day came.”
Royal was an All-American during the 1949 season. One of the greatest all-around players ever to compete for the Sooners, he led OU in passing during his senior year with 509 yards while rushing for 189 yards. During that season he completed 34-of-63 attempts with only one interception.
His punting ability was second to none, which he displayed when he booted one 81 yards against Oklahoma A&M in 1948. His ability on defense almost surpassed what he accomplished on offense. He is the all-time interception leader at OU with 17.