Longtime University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal passed away this morning. He was 88-years-old.
Royal coached the Longhorns from 1957 to 1976 and led the team to three National Championships. Royal also served as athletic director from 1962 to 1979.
The University honored Royal in 1996 by renaming the football stadium, Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium. During the announcement, UT System chancellor William Cunningham said, “No individual has contributed more to athletics at UT-Austin than Darrell Royal. He is a living legend.”
Royal was the all-time winningest coach of the Longhorns. KUT spoke with Royal's wife, Edith, last month. She said Royal enjoyed attending UT football games long after he retired from coaching the team.
A friend of the Royal family told KUT News that plans for his memorial services are underway. The LBJ Presidential Library has set up a memorial page for Royal with photos and a phone conversation between Royal and President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
After the news of Royal's passing broke this morning, fans used Twitter to express their reactions and condolences:
Richard Justice, an MLB.com correspondent (@richardjustice): "RIP Darrell Royal. Man of integrity and humor, intimidating and kind, absolutely brilliant with people."
Brian Jones (@BJ_CFB), a former UT football player and current football analyst for CBS Sports: "Thoughts and prayers to the Darrell Royal family and Longhorn Nation! We lost a great one!"
Cole Constien (@ColeConstien): "Thank you for the memories Darrell Royal. You have a place in every true sports fan's heart. Rest in peace."
Yvette (@YLoTexas): "Rest in peace Coach Darrell Royal. A great man, champion and Texan. The Eyes of Texas shed a tear today. Hook 'em."
Jeff Howe (@JeffHowe247), a football reporter for 247Sports.com:"Somber start to the day with the passing of Darrell Royla at age 88. He's responsible for why so many cheer for the Longhorns."
Here's a statement from Governor Rick Perry on the passing of Darrell Royal:
“Darrell Royal was a coaching icon and the face of football in the Lone Star State for a generation of Texans. His legacy can be counted in national championships, but also in his unending devotion to his university and in the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease. Anita and I join Texans everywhere in mourning his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Edith, son, Mack, and his extended family and friends.”
Current UT Football Head Coach Mack Brown also shared his thoughts:
"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 meant 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.