Hollis, Oklahoma native Darrell Royal was an All-American quarterback, defensive back and punter at the University of Oklahoma who later earned his greatest success as a head coach for the University of Texas.
Royal was a celebrated football player at OU in the era of Bud Wilkinson in 1946. He helped lead the Sooners to their first 11-0 season and he set the school’s 96-yard punt return record. During his collegiate career, the team’s win-loss record was an impressive 36-6-1.
After college, his sights were set on coaching. He was an assistant coach for one season each at North Carolina State, Tulsa and Mississippi State. He spent one season as head coach in the Canadian Football League in Edmonton. He later spent two more seasons at Mississippi State and later one season at Washington.
In 1957, Royal was hired as the head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns, beginning a relationship that spanned more than 30 years. He spent 20 seasons in command of the Longhorns, not charting a single losing season. His teams made 16 bowl appearances: 10 Cotton, three Astro-Bluebonnet, one Orange, one Sugar and one Gator. Their bowl record was 8 wins, 7 losses and one tie. They earned three national titles and six consecutive conference titles between 1968 and 1973. They were undefeated twice in full season play and six times in conference play.
Royal was named Coach of the Year twice by the Football Writers Association, twice by the American Football Coaches Association and four times by the Texas Sports Writers. He also held the Southwesterner of the Year title for three consecutive years. He was inducted into the University of Texas Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. He was also named to the old Oklahoma Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977 and National Football Foundation honors and College Football Hall of Fame induction in 1983.
Royal retired as head coach at TU in 1976 and continued as athletic director at Texas until 1979. Later that year, he served as special assistant to the University President.