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Storied Texas Football Coach Darrel Royal Featured in Unique New Oral Memoir

Coach Royal: Conversations with a Texas Football Legend

Contact: Alison Beck, Associate Director
Center for American History
Phone: (512) 495-4515
Fax: (512) 495-9468

Date: September 14, 2005

The Center for American History is pleased to announce the publication of Coach Royal: Conversations with a Texas Football Legend, published in cooperation with the University of Texas Press. Coach Royal is based on the Center's oral history interviews with former University of Texas football coach Darrell K. Royal and features many never-before-published photographs of Royal and the University of Texas football program.

The Center's sound archivist, John Wheat, conducted the interviews with Royal. The interview transcripts were edited by the Center's director, Dr. Don Carleton. Media personality and humorist Cactus Pryor contributed the foreword, while Pat Culpepper, one of Royal's former star linebackers, wrote the introduction.

Coach Royal is the inaugural book in the Center's "Voices and Memories" series, which draws on oral histories from the collections at the Center for American History dealing with outstanding public figures and themes. The interviews and photographs in Coach Royal form part of the Darrell K. Royal Papers at the Center for American History.

Coach Royal features the major episodes in Royal's storied career - from a humble boyhood in Dust Bowl Oklahoma to the fame and glory of championship football - told for the first time in Royal's own words. The interviews focus mainly on Royal's career at the University of Texas, but also embrace many personal themes both on and off the field, including his close friendships with President Lyndon Johnson and musician Willie Nelson. The interview format and the unique collection of photographs set Coach Royal apart from past writings about Royal.

The interviews reveal Coach Royal's deep and lasting commitment to the University of Texas, as well as his wry sense of humor. In the following excerpt, Royal states that:

I knew quickly that the University of Texas was it . . . . I had had a dream of [coaching here] . . . . So I immediately set about my work. I never considered moving . . . . I had calls from professional teams; I had calls from other colleges; I had calls from the University of Oklahoma twice. I never even let it advance to the stage of hearing an offer, because . . . I would not have moved. I knew I was going to stay right here.


In another portion of the interviews, Royal comments on the time when the press kept hounding him about not passing the ball, and he told them his famous line about there being three things that can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad:

Well, I was kidding. That was tongue in cheek, and I was kind of playing with 'em because we had a good running attack that year . . . . We were leading the nation in scoring, and still I would be asked, "When are you going to start throwing the ball?" . . . So I made that statement, just kind of playing with 'em. But I had no idea that that would go around the way it did.

These stories and many more will be featured in a special session at the Texas Book Festival at the Capitol in Austin on Sunday, October 30, 2005. The panel will include Royal, Wheat, and Pryor.

The Center for American History is a special collections library, archive, and museum at The University of Texas at Austin that facilitates research and sponsors programs on the history of the United States. The Center supports research and education by acquiring, preserving, and making available research collections and by sponsoring exhibitions, conferences, symposia, oral history projects, publications, and grant-funded initiatives.

Inquiries about Coach Royal and other Center for American History publications may be directed to Alison Beck, Associate Director, at (512) 495-4515, or by email at