I knew something happened when I got a call from my wife at around 7:30 a.m.
I was planning to drive to Austin for my regularly scheduled day off there and since I work nights, her and my family members usually don’t call unless something big happens.
“Coach Royal died,” she said.
Although Darrell K. Royal coached his final game before I was born, his legacy is everywhere on the University of Texas campus.
Without him there would be no “Right 53 Veer pass,” no Longhorn legends like Tommy Nobis, no Mack Brown, no Vince Young and Texas wouldn’t have three national titles.
He accomplished so much that Longhorn fans look past the fact that he’s an Okie that played for the Sooners and was on the other side of the Red River Rivalry for a few years.
The University will light the tower orange, Texas will wear special helmet decals and the team will run its first offensive play on Saturday from the wishbone formation Royal helped make famous. A public viewing is also scheduled for noon on Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center.
For me, as a journalist, the best thing that coach left behind were his quotes, or Royalisms.
Below, in no particular order, are my 10 favorite Royalism.
• "Dance with the one who brung ya." Royal was asked if he would ever change from his run-oriented offense to a passing attack. • “Three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad.” We all know coaches in the area that subscribe to this one.
• “Football doesn’t build character, it eliminates the weak ones.” This is appropriate, especially during preseason football practice.
• “There is no such thing as defeat, except when it comes from within, as long as a person doesn’t admit he is defeated, he is not defeated…He’s just a bit behind and isn’t through fighting.” Very inspirational quotes and the reason I used this at the top of last week’s blog post about the Alzheimer’s auction. • “Next to weather, there is no equalizer like two fired up football teams.” This sums up the feeling of standing behind a banner getting ready to play a game.
• “I don’t know, I’ve never had one.” Advice to then North Carolina head coach Mack Brown when Brown asked Royal how he handled a losing season.
• “I could write a good first grade reader. It would go ‘See Texas run. See Texas fumble. See Texas run and fumble.” After UT lost three fumbles, but still beat Rice 45-21 in 1970. • “I had hoped God would be neutral.” Obviously, Tim Tebow has never heard this one “He could run like small town gossip.” Never realized how funny this was until I moved to the area.
“The sun came out today, we just couldn’t see it.” When talking about the mood of UT fans after a loss to Oklahoma.