Darrell K Royal Fund

An auction employee holds up a framed memorabilia from the Royal Collection on Sunday at the Austin Auction Gallery.

Photo Credit: Ricky Llamas | Daily Texan Staff

Members of the public got a chance Sunday to take home memorabilia that belonged to legendary former head football coach Darrell K Royal.

Items auctioned included Alamo Bowl and 2006 Rose Bowl rings, a 1973 photo of Darrell K Royal and his wife Edith Royal with Willie Nelson and Lady Bird Johnson and a photo of Charles Duke, lunar module pilot on the 1972 Apollo 16 mission, attempting to form a Hook ‘em hand gesture on the moon.

Darrell K Royal died Wednesday of complications of cardiovascular disease at the age of 88. Ross Featherston, spokesperson for Austin Auction Gallery, said planning for the auction began in late August, and Edith Royal wanted to continue with the auction after her husband’s death for several reasons.

“This is about sharing their personal collection with the public, with his fans,” Featherston said. “She wanted people to have the opportunity to buy some of those things. There are 243 pieces here that they can [bid on], and they are related to Coach Royal.”

Amy McMurrough, spokesperson for public relations firm McMurrough and Associates, that assisted in publicizing the auction, said Edith Royal also wanted to continue with the auction to take some of the strain off her family.

“She didn’t want to burden her family with the difficulty of having to figure out what to do with things after he passed,” McMurrough said.

She said roughly 600 people placed bids during the auction, with 300 in-person and 300 via internet or telephone.

She said the highest bid was made by a UT alumnus, whose name was not available, for the 2006 Rose Bowl ring at $105,000, roughly $120,000 with buyer’s premium, a tax charged by the auction house. McMurrough said the later bids on that ring produced a lively competition between two bidders.

In addition to the Royal’s items, the auction included pieces from Beau Theriot, an Austin furniture designer.

Featherston said a portion of the proceeds taken in by Featherston and Edith Royal will be given to the Darrell K Royal Fund for Alzheimer’s Research.

He said Darrell K Royal’s passing received national publicity, undoubtedly contributing to the auction’s success.

Articles about Darrell K Royal’s death appeared in the Austin-American Statesman, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Daily Texan and more than a dozen other publications.  

Darrell K Royal served as head coach of the Longhorn football team from 1956 until 1976. His record as head coach is 167-47-5, a school record that remains unbroken.

At Saturday’s game against Iowa State the Longhorns ran the first play from wishbone, a formation introduced to college football by Darrell K Royal in 1968, and gained 47 yards with the play. The Longhorns won the game 33-7.

There will be a public memorial for Darrell K Royal at noon Tuesday in the Frank Erwin Center’s basketball arena. He will be buried privately in the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin, an honor reserved for “legendary Texans who have made the state what it is today.”

Printed on Monday, November 12, 2012 as: Historical DKR memorabilia goes on auction

Longhorn coach Darrell K Royal discusses sports and university events with Kinsolving women in August of 1971. Royal coached at the University of Texas from 1957-1976. (Daily Texan file photo)

Photo Credit: Marlon Taylor | Daily Texan Staff

Legendary football coach Darrell K Royal left behind a legacy on the football field that will also continue into the field of Alzheimer’s research.

The Darrell K Royal Fund for Alzheimer’s Research was launched Tuesday during the testimony of his wife Edith Royal at a Texas Senate Interim Joint Committee hearing on Alzheimer’s disease.

“Everyday since Darrell’s diagnosis of dementia, I deal with the stress of managing everything without my best friend helping me to make decisions,” she said. “It is an important legacy, as important as football, that we lend the strength of Darrell’s name to this incredible group of prominent Texans who want to join us in this endeavor.”

Darrell Royal has been living with dementia for several years and sat next to his wife during the hearing. He spoke briefly in front of the committee.

“I feel that I am home when I visit Austin, Texas,” said Darrell Royal, who proudly held up his “Hook ‘Em” sign as he left the Senate floor.

Royal is the winningest football coach in UT history. In 20 seasons at Texas from 1957-1976, he coached the Longhorns to 167 wins, including three national championships.

According the their website, the DKR Fund will conduct clinical research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with the hope of funding collaborative research in Texas that can be promoted nationwide.

Texas ranks third in the nation regarding the number of citizens diagnosed with the disease, according to the National Alzheimer’s Association. In 2010, there were 340,000 individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the NAA predicts this will increase to 400,000 individuals by 2020. The fund will focus both on research and care for Texans dealing with Alzheimer’s disease through developing new treatment strategies and methods of prevention.

Actor Matthew McConaughey and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, long-time supporters of the Royal family and members of the board of advisors for the fund, were at the hearing. Other board members include UT football head coach Mack Brown, Attorney General Greg Abbott and singer-songwriter Willie Nelson.

Debbie Hanna, president of the Alzheimer’s Association Capital of Texas Chapter, said the fund will be a significant benefit to researchers and caregivers in Texas because of the strength and influence of Royal’s name. Hanna also testified before the committee on Tuesday on behalf of the association.

“The Royals’ bravery is an indication of the kind people they are and the quality of which they have lived their life,” she said. “A diagnosis is difficult for the person with disease, and their family and Mrs. Royal cares about this.”

Robert Barber, scientific manager of the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium, said funding for Alzheimer’s research usually goes to research on the East and West coast even though Texas is greatly affected by the disease.

“The fund will be a game-changer because it may increase communication and collaboration between Texas’ scientists,” he said. “It will also focus on caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, which is an area of research that badly needs improvements.”

Barber said there is a lot of progress to be made in Alzheimer’s research in Texas, and the fund will be beneficial in bridging the gaps between Texas and the rest of the nation.

Printed on Friday, March 2, 2012 as: DKR Fund aims to conduct research on Alzheimer's