Fans react to the death of Darrell K Royal


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DAVID GARDNER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 7 at 7:01 PM

AUSTIN -- The year was 2004. Legendary University of Texas Football Coach Darrell K Royal stands proudly, posing for a picture at the dedication of a statue in his honor at the stadium.

Wednesday morning, Kyler Smith went to same statue somber. He's the first person there, coming to lay flowers at the base of the sculpture. A tribute to royal who died that morning.

"Darrell Royal is such a hero to the University of Texas, to Austin, to the state as a whole. To the entire program of college football," said Smith, "and I just thought it was right to pay my respects to a Texas hero."

Along with the flowers, Smith left a note.

"It's just my favorite 'Royalism,'" he said. "'God gives talent, size, speed, but a guy can control how hard he tries.'"

Across campus at the University CO-OP there was a display of Royal memorabilia. From the scrapbook co-authored by his wife Edith to DVDs.

Brian Jewell is the vice president of marketing at the store. He says the store is restocking and selling the Darrell K Royal Alzheimer's Foundation shirt that was designed this past spring.

"We approached Coach and Mrs. Royal, and we worked with them to come up with this T-shirt design that we've been selling six or seven months now," explained Jewell. "The entire profits from the sell of the T-shirt go back to the D K Royal Alzheimer's Fund."

Royal was perhaps best known for his straightforward coaching style and creating the "Wishbone" football formation, but fans say he will be missed for much more.

"Football records and scores and all that, absolutely, no question, but just what a great person he was," said Jewell.

The University of Texas intends to leave the southeast gates of the Darrell K Royal Stadium open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday. Doing so will give fans the opportunity to go out and visit Royal's statue. For many, that's their way of honoring not only the legacy Royal left behind for UT football, but the man that he was.

"His character. He's always a class act, which I think kind of passed down to Mack Brown, and just the football team in general," said UT junior Joseph Brouillard. 

"The eyes of the Texas Exes, eyes and hearts and minds, are with [Royal's family]. Wish them the best," added the Texas Exes Vice President of Communications and Digital Strategy Tim Taliaferro. 

Sentiment shared by not only UT alumni, but by many Texans and football fans across the nation as they remember Coach Royal.