SAN ANTONIO -

Known as the most successful and most beloved coach in Texas Longhorn History, former University of Texas football Coach Darrell K. Royal died Wednesday at the age 88.

Employees of San Antonio's University Co-op at the Quarry Market, fans and former Longhorns were saddened to hear the news about Royal's passing.

Attorney Tom Stolhandske, who played for Royal in Canada and has been a friend of the coach since 1953, said he was also upset to hear that his friend had passed.

"He was just a winner," said Stolhandske. "And, we're going to miss him terribly."

Stolhandske said he started his football career at the University of Texas at Austin, playing in 1950-1952, but it wasn't until he made All-American that he got to meet Coach Royal.

"That's when I met Darrell," Stolhandske said. "In 1953, I went to Canada to play ball with Darrell. He was the coach of the Eskimos."

When Stolhandske got back to the U.S., he said he recommended Royal for the head coaching job at University of Texas at Austin.

"I said you better talk to this guy, Darrell Royal," he said. "He is one hell of a coach."

And while Stolhandske said he was not responsible for actually hiring him, Royal got the job, becoming the most successful coach at the University.

From the years he was there, 1956 to 1976, Royal led the Longhorns to three National Championships and 11 Southwest Conference Championships and is essentially credited for building the UT Athletic Program to what it is today.

"He was a great man, a great coach and a great person," said Stolhandske. "I could find no faults with him. But sometimes. he'd work you too hard, but by doing that, you'd win."

On Wednesday, to honor his memory, the UT tower in Austin was lit bright orange.

This Saturday at the UT game against Iowa, Longhorn Coach Mack Brown announced they will wear DKR decals on their helmets and that they will start the game by lining up in a wishbone formation to honor him.

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