Texas said goodbye to Longhorns coaching legend Darrell K. Royal Tuesday in a public memorial service at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. Willie Nelson, one of Royal’s greatest friends, performed, and the ceremony closed with the UT Marching Band playing “The Eyes of Texas.”
The state’s greatest-ever football coach, who died last week at the age of 88, was buried in a private service Monday. The university also honored Royal inside the stadium that bears his name on Saturday, during the Longhorns’s game against Iowa State (UT won).
“He was the real creator of the Longhorn brand that defines our institution around the world today,” UT president Bill Powers said Tuesday, referring to Royal’s invention of the school’s helmet logo and his definition of the team’s primary color as “burnt” orange.
More than 200 of Royal’s former players–including Earl Campbell–were among the estimated 1,800 people in attendance, wrote the Austin American-Statesman’s Randy Riggs. Other notable alumni like Vince Young showed up, as well as former UT head coaches and assistants to Royal like Fred Akers and David McWilliams. Even Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, and Attorney General Greg Abbott paid their respects.
Representatives from Texas A&M ( R.C. Slocum, John David Crow), the University of Arkansas (Royal’s good friend Frank Broyles, Ken Hatfield), Baylor (Grant Teaff) and Oklahoma University (Barry Switzer) also attended.
Born in Hollis, Oklahoma, Royal was a former OU player, something Powers noted in his speech: “The rarest of creatures: an Oklahoma Sooner who brought glory and unprecedented success to the University of Texas.”
Brown (who, coincidentally, briefly coached at Oklahoma) was one of a number of featured speakers, an impressive roster that included golfer Ben Crenshaw and several former Royal players from the sixties.
Chip Brown of Orangebloods highlighted some of Brown’s best comments in his live-blog of the service:
- Mack Brown takes the stage and says DKR “would probably think we were all a little over the top, getting dressed up in coats and ties. He would not like that. He would have preferred blue jeans and tennis shoes. He also wouldn’t like that our staff is here when we’ve got TCU coming up. He’d say, ‘How dumb is that? That you’re not working, boy?”
- Mack says DKR was the one who suggested