Darrell Royal to Receive 2010 AFCA Amos Alonzo Stagg Award
Former University of Texas head coach Darrell Royal has been named the 2010 recipient of AFCA’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.
The award, which honors those “whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football,” will be presented to Royal at the AFCA Awards Luncheon on January 12 during the 2010 AFCA Convention in Orlando, Fla.
“I never had a chance to meet him, but I always had a lot of respect for him,” Royal said. “He had one of the greatest names in the game, and it is an honor to be associated with him by receiving an award that’s got his name on it. Guys like him and Mr. (D. X.) Bible were the pathfinders in the college coaching profession. Those of us who came along later were just following in their footsteps.”
A two-time AFCA National Coach of the Year winner (1963, 1970) and six time District Coach of the Year winner, Royal was a member of the AFCA Board of Trustees from 1971-75 and served as the Association’s president in his final year on the Board.
Royal began his head coaching career with stops at Mississippi State and Washington before taking the reins at Texas in 1957. He guided a Longhorn squad that finished 1-9 the season before to a 6-3-1 regular season and a trip to the Sugar Bowl in his first season at the helm — the first of 16 bowl trips over the next 20 years.
He posted a career record of 184-60-5 in 23 years as a head coach, including a 167-47-5 in his 20 years at Texas — the best mark in the nation over that period.
Royal’s Longhorn teams finished in the Top 10 nationally 11 times. He coached 77 All-Southwest Conference players and 26 All-Americans.
During Royal’s tenure, Texas won three national championships, 11 Southwest Conference championships and played in 16 bowl games.
The Longhorns’ national championships came in 1963, ’69 and ’70, and the performance of Royal’s teams during the 1960s earned him the honor of Coach of the Decade as chosen by ABC-TV.
Royal’s football teams won more SWC games (109) and more overall games (167) than any coach in league history and his six consecutive conference titles and Cotton Bowl trips from 1968-73 were league records.
As an innovator, Royal is credited with two major changes in collegiate football. In 1961, he achieved great success and later went on to win a national championship while applying the “flip-flop” to the winged-T, allowing the offensive picture to flip right or left, so that blocking assignments remained simplified.
Then, in 1968, Royal installed the famed “Wishbone” formation backfield, with the fullback lined up two yards behind the quarterback and a step up from the other backs. With that formation, his teams won 30 consecutive games and six consecutive SWC championships.
While winning on the field may have been the most apparent standard of the Royal Era at Texas, his overriding concern with success in the classroom and adherence to the rules could well have been his most significant contribution.
When Royal came to Texas, his first act was to employ the nation’s first academic counselor, and over the years, four out of five men who lettered for Royal went on to achieve their degree.
Royal also served as the director of athletics at Texas from 1962-1980. During his tenure Texas won six national titles, three in football, two in golf and one in baseball.
Royal was a driving force in the upgrading of basketball when he brought in Abe Lemons as coach, and of swimming, when he hired Eddie Reese. Royal served on numerous boards and committees, including the NCAA Television Committee.
His honors include membership in both the Texas and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Longhorn Hall of Honor. He is past president of the American Football Coaches Association and was named Coach of the Year three times by the Football Writers of Association of America. Royal was chosen Southwesterner of the Year four times and SWC Coach of the Year on five occasions. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1983. In ’96, Royal earned the prestigious Horatio Alger Award for his lifetime success. He was a member of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame’s initial class in spring 1998 and was recognized with the first-ever Contribution to College Football Award at the 2002 Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.