The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 8, 2012

Former OU great, UT coach Royal dies at 88

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 two national championships and turned the Longhorns into a national power, died early Wednesday at age 88 of complications from cardiovascular disease, school spokesman Bill Little 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. Known for their stout defenses and punishing running attacks, his Texas teams boasted a 167-47-5 record from 1957-1976, 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.”

It almost didn’t happen. Royal wasn’t Texas’ first choice.

Texas was coming off a 1-9 season in 1956 — still the worst in program history — and wanted a high-profile coach to turn things around. The Longhorns were rebuffed by Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd and Michigan State’s Duffy Daugherty, but both coaches encouraged Texas to hire the 32-year-old Royal, who was lying in bed the night he got the call summoning him to Austin.

“Edith, this is it, this is the University of Texas,” Royal told his wife.

Royal led the Longhorns to a 6-3-1 record in his first season, but he was so sickened by Mississippi’s 39-7 thrashing of his team in the Sugar Bowl that he gave away the commemorative bowl watch he received.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Cards pitching shuts down Brewers again

    MILWAUKEE — Shelby Miller struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings, and Mark Ellis had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Brewers. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Commissioner calls replay start ‘remarkable’

    NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks....

    April 16, 2014

  • Fielder finally goes deep as Rangers shut out Mariners

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Prince Fielder and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit back-to-back homers, Robbie Ross limited Seattle to five singles in seven-plus innings and the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 5-0 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014

  • Warriors trying to move on without Bogut

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Go small or go home....

    April 16, 2014

  • White Sox wear Boston Strong on 1-year anniversary

    CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have paid tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing before their game against the Red Sox....

    April 16, 2014

  • Hot goalie syndrome

    The NHL playoffs have arrived, which means it’s time for the goalies to get going....

    April 16, 2014

  • Musings from the Masters

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — The moment doesn’t get much bigger than this — a 20-foot putt on the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National for the win. Too bad this wasn’t the Masters....

    April 16, 2014

  • Green jacket and golden moment for Bubba Watson

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — For all the crazy stunts Bubba Watson does for fun, the green jacket was off limits....

    April 15, 2014

  • Lynn, Cardinals snap Brewers’ 9-game win streak

    Associated Press MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers’ nine-game winning streak was snapped Monday night when Lance Lynn struck out 11 in seven innings and Jon Jay hit a three-run homer for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-0 victory. Lynn ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Evans, Pelicans stun Thunder 101-89

    NEW ORLEANS — Tyreke Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid by shocking the playoff-bound Thunder 101-89 on Monday night....

    April 15, 2014