The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.
Go ahead faithful Daily Longhorn football history readers, you’ve made it to one of the most important seasons (maybe the most important, non-title season ever?) in Longhorn history.
Dana X. Bible needed a football coach, and unlike last time, when he hired Texas defensive guru Ed Price as head coach, he went outside the program. He made a call to the former Mississippi and current Washington coach named Darrell K Royal.
It’s the most important coaching hire in the history of the University of Texas, but at the time he was just a 32-year old coach three years into his coaching tenure who even spent time coaching the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian League. But he also was a product of one of the greatest coaches in the history of football. Royal played under Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma, where he was born in Hollis, Okla.
After playing for the Sooners, he was an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Tulsa and Mississippi State before becoming the head coach. One of his players at Mississippi State was Mike Campbell, who would become one of the greatest assistant coaches in Texas football history.
Bible retired as the athletic director shortly after hiring Royal, but he made life easy on the following athletic directors (he himself became the athletic director in 1962) because there wouldn’t be a coaching change for another 20 years at Texas.
In his first season at Texas, Royal’s squad was unranked entering the season but finishes No. 11 in the final ranking. Royal beat Georgia in his first game as Texas coach and finished the regular season 6-3-1. He lost to Oklahoma, but at the time everyone was losing to Oklahoma. He beat No. 10-ranked Arkansas 17-0, beat No. 13-ranked Rise 19-14, No. 17-ranked TCU 14-2 and finished the season with the biggest win of all.
Bear Bryant’s fourth season at Texas A&M had big expectations. He had gone 9-0-1 in 1956 and many people expected the Aggies to compete to the title in 1957. Texas A&M was 8-1 and hosting Texas on Thanksgiving day. Royal bested the Bear that day , as well as Heisman trophy winner John David Crow, as the Longhorns won 9-7 and earned a birth in the Sugar Bowl.
Now the Sugar Bowl experience in 1957 was not great. Texas lost 39-7, the worst bowl defeat in program history at the time. But clearly great things were on the horizon for the young coach.
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