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There are a few college football coaches who stand on a historical pedestal above the rest, their names forming a foundation of the sport's history.
Bear Bryant. Pop Warner. Knute Rockne. Tom Osborne. Woody Hayes. Bo Schembechler. Joe Paterno. To name a few.
Darrell Royal is on that short list. He won three national championships at Texas. He won 11 Southwest Conference titles. He coached 23 seasons, 20 of them at Texas, and never had a losing record.
Royal died at age 88, in Austin.
"He is Texas football," Texas coach Mack Brown once said of Royal [according to the San Antonio Express-News]. "He's what put us on the map. He's our trademark. He's one of those handful of guys who've done more for college football than college football did for him."
Texas hosts a game on Saturday against Iowa State, at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. It is sure to be an emotional day as the Longhorns remember the coach who is synonymous with the program. Royal had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease recently.
Royal is credited with bringing the wishbone offense, a three-back option attack, to college football in 1968. Texas was virtually unstoppable running it. Over the six seasons that followed the introduction of the wishbone Texas won or tied for the conference title every year, losing nine games total. Royal had a 167-47-5 record at Texas, winning national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970.
Royal remained a fixture around the Texas program in the years after he retired. College football suffered a great loss with his death.
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