On the field, Royal was known for his play-calling genius, taking the biggest of risks in the biggest of games and coming out a winner more often than not. Off the field, he rose from humble beginnings during the depths of the Depression to become a homespun populist rivaling Will Rogers.
Royal was the winningest coach in University of Texas history, compiling a 167-47-5 record in 20 seasons from 1957 to 1976, and his name has been synonymous with Longhorn football for a half-century. Today, the Longhorns' 100,000-seat stadium bears his name.
He is survived by his wife, Edith, and a son, Mack. Two of his children, Marian and David, preceded him in death.
In recent years, the legendary coach battled Alzheimer's disease, but he did make one last appearance at a Longhorns football game this season, participating in the ceremonial coin toss before the Longhorns' win over Wyoming.
In February, Edith Royal announced the creation of the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer's Disease in an emotional appearance in the Texas Senate chamber. There, with her husband at her side, she spoke of the impact of the disease on her family and praised the support of their Longhorn family.
"It is now members of those teams and our football family that return from all over the country almost daily to shower Darrell with love, engage him in activities, play music, sing for him, take him out for a barbecue sandwich or a ride in a new pickup truck, and, as importantly, provide some element of relief for me. It is not just the free time for me, but I know that those moments with his former players and lifelong friends are pure enjoyment for him, even if it is only in that moment," she said.
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