Legendary Texas Longhorns head football coach Darrell Royal, who won three national championships with the school and invented the wishbone offense, died Wednesday, the university announced. He was 88.
The Longhorns’ football stadium, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, is named after the legendary coach.
Admiration for Royal expanded beyond the college football world.
"I am not a football fan, but I am a fan of the people and I am a Darrell Royal fan because he is the rarest of people," Texan and former president Lyndon B. Johnson once said of the football coach.
Royal led the Longhorns to three national championships, in 1963, 1969 and 1970.
The legendary coach amassed an impressive 167-47-5 record with the Longhorns from 1957-1976. In addition to three national championships, the Longhorns won 11 Southwest Conference titles during that span.
Royal was the brains behind the wishbone offense, which favors the run, and the scheme spread throughout college football.
Twitter users gave their condolences to Royal’s family as they learned of the coach’s death.
“Darrell Royal was one of ours. An All American at Oklahoma & great competitor. He cast a long shadow & will be missed,” wrote former Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners head coach Barry Switzer, referring to Royal’s playing days at Oklahoma.
“A sad day for … Texas with the passing of Legendary Texas Coach Darrell Royal,” wrote CBS college football commentator Tim Brando.
“My thoughts & prayers are with Darrell Royal, the Royal family, & the Longhorn Nation on the passing of Coach Royal..#RIP,” wrote ESPN College Gameday co-host and former Obio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit.
“Not old enough to have seen Darrell Royal as a coach but have heard plenty abt his impact & great 1-liners ( "dance w/ the 1 who brung ya,”) wrote Bruce Feldman of CBS.
Feldman was referring to Royal being asked what changes he would make to the Longhorns after Texas was beaten by Arkansas and Rice in 1965.
“There’s an old saying, ‘You dance with the one that brung ya,’ ” Royal said, according to the Times.
Respect for Royal was not limited to the college football fraternity following his death.
“You are missed my friend,” country music superstar Willie Nelson wrote of Royal.
Longhorns fans were among those sending tweets in tribute to Royal.