Thursday, November 08, 2012

RIP Darrell K Royal

As a youngster growing up in the state of Texas, the University of Texas Longhorns were the standard of excellence when it came to college football.  Sure, the Aggies, Red Raiders, and the heinous Sooners from across the Red River to the north could field a pretty decent team, but the Longhorns were the iconic college team in a state renowned for its football.  I made the decision to attend UT-Austin, not based on the prowess of the Longhorns, but on an anticipated career as a lawyer and on the reputation of the UT Law School at that time as one of the finest in the nation.  Being able to attend all of the Longhorn's home games was just icing on the cake.

The years that I attended (1971-1975) were marked by some outstanding teams with some exceptional running backs.  Roosevelt Leaks wracked up some impressive numbers from 1972-1974 in UT's famed Wishbone offense, made famous by Coach Darrell K Royal.  Leaks was followed by a true legend--the Tyler Rose, a.k.a Earl Campbell.  Campbell was simply phenomenal in his ability to elude tacklers, to outrun them with surprising speed for a bigger than average-sized running back, and also for his strength that enabled him to simply run through and over would-be tacklers.  He would win the Heisman Trophy in 1977.

What prompts this nostalgic football reminiscing today is the news of the death of the legendary UT football coach, Darrell K Royal yesterday (Nov. 7th) at the age of 88.  He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for a number of years.  Royal was one of the outstanding men in his profession, respected and admired by his teams and fellow coaches alike.  Sports staff writer Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman has penned a wonderful tribute to Coach Royal.  Coach Royal was a class act.

1 comment:

Joel said...

He's well before my time, but I do work with several long-time Texans who were remembering his legacy. It sounds like he was from a bygone era of college football, where people cared equally about how the players handled themselves on and off the field. Now we have Nick Saban. I still watch college football but it has gotten to be a pretty absurd business when you consider all the money floating around.