On Wednesday there was the expected and much deserved blitz of tributes to Darrell K Royal, former football coach at the University of Texas, who passed away at age 88 after a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Ultimately, a fall in the extended care facility in which he most recently lived led to his passing from complications of cardiovascular disease early in the morning of November 7, 2012.
Coach Royal epitomized the class and quality of the University of Texas, turned Longhorn football into the mega program it is today and had a forever-lasting impact on the city of Austin and Central Texas. To those of my age-group, the coveted 40-55-year old demographic that still reads books and magazines on paper, not always on computer screens, Royal was as important to the lore of the Lone Star State as Lyndon B. Johnson and Davy Crockett.
Statement from Mack Brown on the passing of Darrell Royal:
"Today is a very sad day. I lost a wonderful friend, a mentor, a confidant and my hero. College football lost maybe its best ever and the world lost a great man. I can hardly put in words how much Coach Royal means to me and all that he has done for me and my family. I wouldn't even be at Texas without Coach. His council and friendship me and a lot to me before I came to Texas, but it's been my guiding light for my 15 years here." Coach gave so much more to the State of Texas and college football than he took away. He forgot more football than most of us will ever know, including me. His impact on the game, the coaches and players, the community and the millions of lives he touched, is insurmountable. He will be missed in so many ways."I lost my Dad when I was 54, and Coach filled a real void in my life and treated me like family. Sally and I gained a lot coming to Texas and being a part of this tremendous program but no more than our relationship with Coach and Edith. They were our closest of friends. Our heart pours out to Edith and the family and our thoughts and prayers are with her and the family. We will always be there to lend any and all support that we can as she and Coach always did for us."