Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said today that college football has “truly lost an icon” with the death of former Texas coach Darrell Royal, an All-America football player for the Sooners in 1949 before crossing the Red River to become a legendary coach for the Longhorns.
Royal built a 167-47-5 record in 20 seasons at Texas, where he won three national championships (1963, 1969, 1970). In 23 seasons as a college coach, which also included stops at Mississippi State and Washington, Royal never experienced a losing record.
Both Castiglione and Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops weighed in with thoughts about Royal’s passing:
Castiglione’s statement: “The University of Oklahoma joins the rest of the nation in celebrating the life’s work of Darrell Royal,” said OU vice president for intercollegiate athletics and director of athletics, Joe Castiglione. “We’ve truly lost an icon – a champion, an innovator and an educator. As an All-America player at the University of Oklahoma, he represented his home state with a unique versatility that we still celebrate today. Without question, he left an even more indelible mark on collegiate athletics during his distinguished coaching and administrative tenure at the University of Texas, where he made on immeasurable impact on the University and the countless individuals he touched.”
Stoops’ statement: “Coach Royal will always have a special place in the hearts of Sooners’ fans as an unbelievably talented player. From a coaching perspective, I have great admiration for his many accomplishments, his great players and his championship teams, and especially appreciate the fact that he never suffered a losing season in 23 seasons as a head coach.”
_ Jimmy Burch