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Darrell Royal, Texas Coach for 3 National Titles, Dies at 88

Darrell Royal, Texas Coach for Three National Titles, Dies at 88
Darrell Royal, University of Texas football coach, poses for a portrait in this 1970 file photo. Royal has died. He was 88. Source: Sporting News via Getty Images

Darrell Royal, who led the University of Texas to three national football championships and 11 Southwest Conference titles, has died. He was 88.

Royal won more games than any other coach for the Longhorns and his name is given to the team’s stadium. He died in Austin, Texas, the school’s home, the university said on its website.

The school didn’t list any details about Royal’s death. The Associated Press said he had Alzheimer’s disease and recently fell at an assisted-living center.

After coaching at Mississippi State (1954-55) and Washington (1956), Royal moved to Texas in 1957 and compiled a 167-47-5 record, winning national titles in 1963, 1969 and 1970. He stepped down as coach after the 1976 season and was the school’s athletic director until his retirement in 1980.

Royal was 184-60-5 for his 23-year coaching career. A proponent of running the football, he was credited with developing innovative offensive strategies such as the “Flip-Flop Winged-T” and the “Wishbone,” according to the College Football Hall of Fame.

“Three things can happen when you pass and two of ‘em are bad,’’ Royal once said.

Other offerings of wisdom attributed to Royal included ‘‘Dance with the one that brung ya,’’ when asked about installing more passing plays, and ‘‘Act like you’ve been there before,’’ on his distaste for celebrating touchdowns in the end zone, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Oklahoma’s Son

Darrell K. Royal was born on July 6, 1924, in Hollis, Oklahoma.

He became an All-American quarterback at the University of Oklahoma, also playing defensive back and punter. The Sooners went 36-6-1 during his four years at the school, from 1946 to 1949.

Royal became an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Tulsa and Mississippi State, and coached the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League before returning to Mississippi State for his first college head coaching job.

Royal was twice named Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

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