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Texas pays tribute to ex-football coach Royal
AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - The Texas Longhorns paid tribute to former football coach Darrell Royal during their game against Iowa State on Saturday, honoring the man who won 11 conference titles and two national championships in his 20 years leading the program.
Royal, who died Wednesday at age 88, won 167 games at Texas from 1957 to 1976, a mark that still stands as a school record.
Texas ran its first offensive play from the wishbone formation Royal introduced to major college football in 1968. Instead of a run, Texas pitched the ball to Jaxon Shipley, who tossed it back to quarterback David Ash, who passed to tight end Greg Daniels for 47 yards, adding some razzle-dazzle to an old-school formation.
Flags flew at half-staff at the stadium that bears Royal’s name and white “DKR” initials were painted inside the burnt-orange Longhorn logo at midfield. Texas players also wore a similar helmet logo, which will remain part of the uniform the rest of the season.
A wreath was placed at the feet of a Royal statue inside the stadium where dozens of fans lined up to take photographs and flashed the “Hook’em Horns” hand signal. Royal’s widow Edith attended the game.
Under Royal, Texas won 11 Southwest Conference titles, 10 Cotton Bowl championships and national championships in 1963 and 1969, going 11-0 each time. The Longhorns also won a share of the 1970 national title, earning him a national stature that rivaled that of Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes. Royal was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
A public memorial ceremony is scheduled for noon Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center basketball arena. Royal will be buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, an honor typically reserved for the state’s military and political leaders.
University officials illuminated the iconic UT Tower with burnt orange floodlights in Royal’s honor on Wednesday night.
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