Darrell K Royal Remembered

Hundreds of friends, family, and fans gathered yesterday for an on-campus memorial service honoring former Texas head football coach, Darrell K Royal.

Coach Royal, who won 11 conference championships and three national championships during his 20-year tenure, died on Nov. 7 at the age of 88. He was laid to rest in nearby Texas State Cemetery at a private ceremony on Monday.

Guests at the memorial ranged from current students, to Longhorn football greats like Earl Campbell and Vince Young, to Texas songwriter and close friend of Royal’s, Willie Nelson. All expressed their condolences to Edith, Royal’s wife of 67 years. The Frank Erwin Center was filled with a mixture of teary eyes and boisterous laughter as friends and former players recalled Royal’s coaching legacy, humility, and quick wit.

The proceedings included several songs by Royal’s favorite gospel group, the Kyle Sisters, and speeches by University of Texas president Bill Powers, Texas golf legend Ben Crenshaw, and current head coach Mack Brown.

Brown shared some of Coach Royal’s choicest advice. Entering into his first year as head coach at Texas, Brown asked Royal what the best part of the job was. Royal responded by telling him that “25 million people care every day about what you do.”

Brown then asked what the worst aspect of being the head coach, and Royal, channeling his wry sense of humor, replied, “25 million people care every day about what you do.”

Assistant Athletics Director Bill Little recalled a vow Royal took long ago, after a particularly disheartening away-game loss. Noticing a general lack of support for the team at the game, Royal swore to never again travel without the Longhorn Band–and at the end of the ceremony, Royal made good on that promise once more, as the Longhorn Band closed the memorial with an emotional rendition of  “The Eyes of Texas.”

There was not a dry eye in the house, nor a right hand that wasn’t held high in the familiar “Hook ’em” symbol.

See photos from yesterday’s memorial service here.

Royal and his team celebrating one of the coach’s three national championships. Photo from the 1977 Cactus.


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