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Celebrating DKR: Colleagues, Friends & Former Foes Pay Respects to Legendary Coach

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT
Not many people know that Darrell Royal was named a professor at UT and even given tenure in the early 1960's. Tuesday, Royal delivered one more lesson.

As guests poured into the Frank Erwin Center for a memorial service celebrating the life of the legendary coach, we learned that Royal's relationships were as unique as the wishbone offense he perfected.

He just used the game of football as a tool, or as a vehicle, to enable many people that he came in contact with to simply be the best they could be," said former Longhorns defensive back Johnnie Johnson who was recruited by Royal.

Musicians, golfers, brethren, and even bovine turned out to salute the pigskin pioneer.

"Everything I had here at UT and did here at UT, I owe to Darrell Royal," said former University of Texas head baseball coach Cliff Gustafson, who was hired by Royal when he served as Texas' athletics director.

"Coach Royal was like a father away from home to me," said former Texas quarterback Bill Bradley who played for Coach Royal from 1966 to 1968. "He's going to be really missed, but we're going to celebrate his life and continue to talk about him for the rest of our lives."

"He wasn't my coach but I came here to pay my respects," said former UT wide receiver Quan Cosby. We've had conversations at practice and you appreciate everything - his work, his personality."

But it was not only the eyes of Texas focused on the life of DKR Tuesday. Oklahoma's Barry Switzer and Arkansas' Frank Broyles, two of Coach Royal's most bitter rivals at one time, ventured into enemy territory to honor the man they may have lost a game or a recruit to, but never lost respect for.

"It's an honor to be here for a great football coach and a great person," said an emotional Frank Broyles, who lost the national championship to Royal's team in 1969.

"I knew I would never be his friend because of where i was coaching and the players we fought for," said former Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer. "But I felt this [coming here] was the right thing to do and I wanted to do the right thing."

One of Coach Royal's close friends, musician Larry Gatlin, told us he wrote a song fitting for Tuesday's DKR memorial. The lyrics read, "It's a sad day in Texas, but a happy day in heaven."Celebrating DKR: Colleagues, Friends & Former Foes Pay Respects to Legendary Coach


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