Royal in 1966
July 6, 1924|
|Died||November 7, 2012
|Position(s)||Quarterback, defensive back|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|NC State (assistant)
Mississippi State (off. backs)
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1983 (profile)
Darrell K Royal (July 6, 1924 – November 7, 2012) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Mississippi State University (1954–1955), the University of Washington (1956), and the University of Texas at Austin (1957–1976), compiling a career college football record of 184–60–5. In his 20 seasons at Texas, Royal's teams won three national championships (1963, 1969, and 1970), 11 Southwest Conference titles, and amassed a record of 167–47–5. He won more games than any other coach in Texas Longhorns football history. Royal also coached the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League for one season in 1953. Royal never had a losing season as a head coach for his entire career. He played football at the University of Oklahoma from 1946 to 1949. Royal was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1983. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, where the Longhorns play their home games, was renamed in his honor in 1996.
"K" is Royal's given middle name, not an abbreviation. He received it in honor of his mother, Katy, who died when he was an infant. She died of cancer, but because of the stigma surrounding the disease at that time, Royal was led to believe until he was an adult that she had died giving birth to him.
In 1942, during World War II, Royal finished Hollis High School, where he had played football. Royal joined the United States Army Air Corps, where he played football for the 3rd Air Force team during 1945 and was spotted and recruited by scouts for the University of Oklahoma Sooners football program. Royal played quarterback and defensive back at the University of Oklahoma under his mentor, coach Bud Wilkinson from 1946 to 1949. While attending Oklahoma, he joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
Royal was most noted for his prowess as a defensive back, where his 18 career interceptions and his three interceptions in the 1947 game against Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) are still Sooner records.
Royal's part-time contributions as quarterback had a similar impact, despite having to share time with Jack Mitchell and Claude Arnold at the position. He threw a 43-yard pass against North Carolina in the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Royal holds the fourth-best winning percentage in school history (minimum 15 starts) with a 16–1 mark as a part-time quarterback starter. His 11–0 mark as a starter in 1949 ranks as one of the best seasons in school history.
Royal served as an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Tulsa and Mississippi State. He coached the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, and in 1954, he returned to Mississippi State for his first collegiate head coaching job. He spent the 1956 season as head coach at the University of Washington.
University of Texas
Royal took over as head coach at University of Texas (UT) in December 1956, and achieved success almost instantaneously. The team went from a 1–9 record, their worst record ever, in 1956 to a 6–4–1 mark and a berth in the Sugar Bowl in 1957. In Royal's 20 years as head coach, Texas never had a losing season. Royal posted a 167–47–5 career record at Texas. His overall coaching record was 184–60–5.
Royal's coaching tactics were the subject of criticism in Gary Shaw's exposé of college football recruiting and coaching practices, Meat on the Hoof, which was published in 1972, six years after Shaw left the Texas football program.
Beginning in 1962, Royal also served as athletic director for the University of Texas. He retired from coaching in 1976, and remained director of athletics until 1980. He then served as special assistant to the university president on athletic programs.
During his tenure, Royal oversaw the integration of African-Americans into the UT athletics program. At that time, while UT began admitting black students in 1956 and opening the athletics program to them in 1963, there were still no black student-athletes well into the late 1960s. In 2005, Royal retrospectively noted that "things they are a-changing. But they weren't changing that quickly around here at the time.". He offered a scholarship to Julius Whittier of San Antonio after the last recipient dropped out due to poor academic performance, and Whittier went on to become the first black student-athlete to play for the Texas Longhorns football team; Whittier graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in 1976 with a master's degree and works as a chief prosecutor with the Dallas District Attorney's Office.
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."
Royal was survived by his wife Edith (b. 1925), whom he married on July 26, 1944. They have a son Sammy "Mack" and two predeceased children, Marian Royal Kazen (1945–73) and David Wade Royal (1952-82), both of whom died in automobile-related accidents.
Head coaching record
|Mississippi State Maroons (Southeastern Conference) (1954–1957)|
|Washington Huskies (Pacific Coast Conference) (1956)|
|Texas Longhorns (Southwest Conference) (1957–1976)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Dingus, Anne. "Darrell Royal". TexasMonthly.com.
- "Darrell Royal". Horatio Alger Association. 1996.
- "2006 Oklahoma Sooners Media Guide" (PDF). Soonersports.com. University of Oklahoma Athletic Department. p. 153. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "Oklahoma Sooners Record Book". Soonerstats.com. 2007.
- "Royal, Darrell, Inducted 1992 – Football". Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- "Season Results". CFDW. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- Butts, Mike. "Tarnished Legends". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2006-09-30.
- Drape, Joe (December 23, 2005). "Changing the Face of Texas Football". The New York Times.
- "First African-American to Play UT Football, LBJ School Alum Julius Whittier Visits Longhorn Team; Shares Personal Story About Becoming an LBJ School Student". utexas.edu. December 1, 2010.
- "Changing the Field: Integrating Athletics at UT". utexas.edu. February 10, 2014.
- "College Football Hall of Fame". Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- McEachern, Jenna Hays (2012). DKR: The Royal Scrapbook. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-292-70493-0.
- Goldstein, Richard (November 7, 2012). "Darrell Royal, Texas Coach Who Pioneered Wishbone Offense, Dies at 88". The New York Times.
- "Darrell Royal meant more than wins". ESPN. November 7, 2012.
- Darrell Royal at SoonerSports.com
- Darrell Royal at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Darrell Royal at the College Football Data Warehouse
- Darrell Royal at Find a Grave
- Texas State Cemetery — Darrel K Royal