Darrell Royal’s wife speaks about coach’s dementia, announces fund for Alzheimer’s research
Updated: 5:12 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012
In the first public acknowledgment that legendary former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal has been living with dementia for several years, his wife, Edith, told members of a state legislative committee Tuesday of the emotional and physical toll.
“Every day since Darrell’s diagnosis of dementia, I deal with the stress of managing everything without my best friend at my side helping me make decisions,” Edith Royal said while testifying during a hearing of the interim joint House committee studying Alzheimer’s disease.
With Darrell Royal, 87, by her side, and with support from friends including cyclist Lance Armstrong and actor Matthew McConaughey, Edith Royal also announced the creation of the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease .
Darrell Royal’s comment was brief: “Thank you very much,” he told the committee. “I feel like I’m home.”
The popular coach posted a record of 167-47-5 from 1957 to 1976 at Texas, won three national championships and 11 Southwest Conference titles, and never had a losing season .
State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, was overcome with emotion at seeing the Royals in the Senate chamber. Calling Royal his personal hero, Lucio said: “Coach came to Texas to teach Texas men how to be men. He did that.”