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Sooners mourn passing of All-American Darrell Royal

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NORMAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma was saddened to learn of the passing of Darrell Royal, who earned football All-America honors in 1949.

“The University of Oklahoma joins the rest of the nation in celebrating the life’s work of Darrell Royal,” Joe Castiglione said, OU vice president for intercollegiate athletics and director of athletics.“We’ve truly lost an icon, a champion, an innovator and an educator.”

As an All-America player at the University of Oklahoma, he represented his home state with a unique versatility that we still celebrate today. Without question, he left an even more indelible mark on collegiate athletics during his distinguished coaching and administrative tenure at the University of Texas, where he made on immeasurable impact on the University and the countless individuals he touched.”

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops echoed Castiglione’s comments.
“Coach Royal will always have a special place in the hearts of Sooners’ fans as an unbelievably talented player,” said Stoops. “From a coaching perspective, I have great admiration for his many accomplishments, his great players and his championship teams, and especially appreciate the fact that he never suffered a losing season in 23 seasons as a head coach.”

Royal was named an All-American during the 1949 season. One of the greatest all-around players ever to compete for the Sooners, he led Oklahoma in passing during his senior year with 509 yards while rushing for 189 yards. During that season he completed 34-of-63 attempts with only one interception.

His punting ability was second to none, which he displayed when he booted one 81 yards against Oklahoma A&M in 1948. His ability on defense almost surpassed what he accomplished on offense. He is the all-time interception leader at OU with 17.

The all-conference selection also was an outstanding punt returner. During the 1948 season, he had returns of 73 and 95 yards for touchdowns. The latter is tied for the 12th-longest play in school history.

He was selected in the 20th round of the 1950 NFL Draft by the New York Bulldogs. He went on to become a legendary coaching figure at the University of Texas.