Darrell Royal: Remembering Former Texas Coach and Wishbone Innovator

Randy ChambersAnalyst INovember 7, 2012

Image Credit: rollbamaroll.com
Image Credit: rollbamaroll.com

The sport of college football has lost a legend. Former University of Texas Longhorn head coach Darrell Royal has passed away at the age of 88, as reported by ESPN.

Royal took over a struggling Texas team back in 1957 and ended up coaching the Longhorns until 1976. In his first year, he took a team that had won just one game and led the program to six victories and a Sugar Bowl berth.

That was just the beginning of his special career, as Royal finished his long tenure at Texas with a 167-47-5 overall record. He also went on to win three national championships, two Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year awards and 11 Southwest Conference titles.

He also never had a losing season in his 23 years of coaching.

His contributions played such a big role to this Texas program that Texas Memorial Stadium was renamed Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium back in 1996 in honor of the former head coach and all of his accomplishments. 

Royal was always a believer of a strong running game. He rarely enjoyed passing the football because there was too much risk involved with incompletions and turnovers.

So, in 1968, he introduced the wishbone offense in Texas, which helped lead his team to 30 straight victories and multiple conference championships.

The offense then began to spread like wildfire, as teams such as the University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, the United State Military Academy (Army) and the Air Force Academy later picked it up and used it as their base offense.

Texas is now a national powerhouse that competes for big-time bowl games almost every season. A lot of that success is due to the impact Royal had at this program. He got things off the ground and led this team to three of its four national titles.

Royal will always remain one of the more respected coaches in college football history.