This Day in College Football History – November 7th

Jake Gibbs (born November 7, 1938) is a former Major League Baseball player who played for the New York Yankees as a platoon catcher from 1962 to 1971. His strong hit record in 1968 earned him the nickname “Dead-Eye” Gibbs.  Prior to beginning his professional baseball career, Gibbs had successful careers in college baseball and college football at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) for the Ole Miss Rebels. He returned to Ole Miss to coach the baseball and football teams.

Gibbs attended the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He played quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels football team, and also played for the Ole Miss Rebels baseball team. Both teams compete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).  For the baseball team, Gibbs led the Rebels to their first SEC championship in 1959.  During his junior football season, Gibbs was best remembered for punting the ball to LSU All-American Billy Cannon on a third-and-19 with 10 minutes remaining in a Halloween Night game at Tiger Stadium and the No. 3 Rebels ahead of defending national champion and No. 1 LSU 3-0. Cannon picked up the ball on one bounce along the right sideline at his own 11-yard line and raced past the Rebel coverage unit, including Gibbs, 89 yards to the game’s only touchdown. The play helped Cannon win the 1959 Heisman Memorial Trophy.  The 7-3 loss cost Ole Miss a chance at the wire service national championships, since those polls were voted upon at the time prior to bowl games and did not take into account Ole Miss’ 21-0 humiliation of LSU in the 1960 Sugar Bowl, 62 days after the teams played in Baton Rouge.

During his senior year at Mississippi, Gibbs led the Ole Miss Rebels football team to a 10–0–1 record, with the lone blemish a 6-6 deadlock against an inferior LSU squad (the Tigers went 5-4-1 after winning 20 of 22 games in 1958 and 1959) at Oxford, Mississippi. The Rebels won the 1961 Sugar Bowl, defeating the Rice Owls football team 14-6, as Gibbs scored both touchdowns.  The Rebels were recognized as national champions by the Football Writers Association of America.  Gibbs was named to the 1960 College Football All-America Team. That year, he was also named SEC Player of the Year.

Gibbs decided instead to go professional in baseball despite being drafted by the Houston Oilers of the American Football League and Cleveland Browns National Football League in 1961. Gibbs signed with the New York Yankees in 1961, receiving a $100,000 signing bonus under the Bonus Rule.  Gibbs signed as a third baseman and shortstop.  Gibbs spent his four first professional seasons in minor league baseball,  where his highest season batting average was .284 and he managed to hit 28 home runs across the four seasons.

Gibbs returned to Ole Miss as an assistant football coach in 1965, working during the Yankees’ offseason.  In this role, Gibbs mentored Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Archie Manning. After the 1971 season, Gibbs returned to Ole Miss full-time as a baseball coach and football recruiter.  In 1972, Gibbs coached Ole Miss to the SEC championship. The team set an SEC record for consecutive conference wins, and went to Omaha for the 1972 College World Series (CWS).  He was named coach of the year in 1972.  The Rebels have yet to return to the CWS despite four trips to the Super Regional round in 11 seasons under current coach Mike Bianco. He was named coach of the year in 1977.  Gibbs retired in 1990 with 485 wins, more than any coach in Ole Miss history, that is before March 9, 2013, when Mike Bianco breaks the record in an 8-3 win against Lipscomb State University.

Darrell K Royal (July 6, 1924 – November 7, 2012) was a football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Mississippi State University (1954–1955), the University of Washington (1956), and the University of Texas at Austin (1957–1976), compiling a career college football record of 184–60–5. In his 20 seasons at Texas, Royal’s teams won three national championships (1963, 1969, and 1970), 11 Southwest Conference titles, and amassed a record of 167–47–5. He won more games than any other coach in Texas Longhorns football history. Royal also coached the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League for one season in 1953. He never had a losing season as a head coach for his entire career. He played football at the University of Oklahoma from 1946 to 1949. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1983. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, where the Longhorns play their home games, was renamed in his honor in 1996.

“K” is Royal’s given middle name, not an abbreviation. He received it in honor of his mother, Katy, who died when he was an infant. She died of cancer, but because of the stigma surrounding the disease at that time, Royal was led to believe until he was an adult that she had died giving birth to him. In 1942, during World War II, Royal finished Hollis High School, where he had played football. He joined the United States Army Air Corps, where he played football for the 3rd Air Force team during 1945 and was spotted and recruited by scouts for the University of Oklahoma Sooners football program. He played quarterback and defensive back at the University of Oklahoma under his mentor, coach Bud Wilkinson, from 1946 to 1949. While attending Oklahoma, he joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Royal was most noted for his prowess as a defensive back, where his 18 career interceptions and his three interceptions in the 1947 game against Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) are still Sooner records. Royal’s part-time contributions as quarterback had a similar impact, despite the fact that he shared time with Jack Mitchell and Claude Arnold at the position. He threw a 43-yard pass against North Carolina in the 1949 Sugar Bowl. Royal holds the fourth-best winning percentage in school history (minimum 15 starts) with a 16–1 mark as a part-time quarterback starter. His 11–0 mark as a starter in 1949 ranks as one of the best seasons in school history. In 1992, Royal was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Royal served as an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Tulsa and Mississippi State. He coached the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, and in 1954, he returned to Mississippi State for his first collegiate head coaching job. He spent the 1956 season as head coach at the University of Washington. Royal took over as head coach at University of Texas (UT) in December 1956. The team went from a 1–9 record, their worst record ever, in 1956 to a 6–4–1 mark and a berth in the Sugar Bowl in 1957. In Royal’s 20 years as head coach, Texas never had a losing season. Royal posted a 167–47–5 career record at Texas. His overall coaching record was 184–60–5. With Royal at the helm, Texas won three national championships (1963, 1969 and 1970), won or shared 11 Southwest Conference championships, and made 16 bowl appearances.

Royal’s coaching tactics were the subject of criticism in Gary Shaw’s exposé of college football recruiting and coaching practices, Meat on the Hoof, which was published in 1972, six years after Shaw left the Texas football program. Beginning in 1962, Royal also served as athletic director for the University of Texas. He retired from coaching in 1976 and remained director of athletics until 1980. He then served as special assistant to the university president on athletic programs.

During his tenure, Royal oversaw the integration of African-Americans into the UT athletics program. At that time, while UT began admitting black students in 1956 and opening the athletics program to them in 1963, there were no black student-athletes well into the late 1960s. In 2005, Royal retrospectively noted that “things they are a-changing. But they weren’t changing that quickly around here at the time.”. He offered a scholarship to Julius Whittier of San Antonio after the last recipient dropped out due to poor academic performance, and Whittier became the first black student-athlete to play for the Texas Longhorns football team. He graduated from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in 1976 with a master’s degree and works as a chief prosecutor with the Dallas District Attorney’s Office. In 1996, the University honored Royal by renaming Texas Memorial Stadium as Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium. Royal was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. Coach Royal was famous for the inspirational Royalisms he deployed as motivational tools.

Royal died on November 7, 2012, due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease.[13][14] He is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. Royal was survived by his wife Edith (b. 1925), whom he married on July 26, 1944. They have a son, Sammy “Mack,” and two predeceased children, Marian Royal Kazen (1945–73) and David Wade Royal (1952-82), both of whom died in automobile-related accidents.


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