September 15th, 2014: Press Release

Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease
Raises $1,050,000 at the Ben-Willie-Darrell Present
Links & Lyrics Event

September 15, 2014, AUSTIN, TX – The Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease today announced $1,050,000 was raised at the Ben-Willie-Darrell Present “Links & Lyrics” 2014. The event held at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater featured Vince Gill and friends Big Al Anderson, Don Schlitz and Sunny Sweeney, who entertained guests with some of their favorite songs.


“This night is a true testament to the legacy established by my husband. Darrell always looked to the future, the next game, the next season, the next opponent,” said Edith Royal. “I am excited that we can look to the future with the scientists and doctors whose projects we will fund to make a difference, change lives, and change minds.”

Scientists from medical schools and universities across the state of Texas proposed grants in a highly competitive environment. A six man nationally distinguished expert panel of out of state reviewers led by Dr. Ron Petersen, Mayo Clinic chose the 2014 recipients. The event awarded $825,000 in grant funds to six Texas researchers including: Dr. Maya Henry (The University of Texas at Austin), Dr. Marie Monfils (The University of Texas at Austin), Dr. Chandramallika Basak (The University of Texas at Dallas), Dr. Steven Patrie (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), Dr. Florian Plattner (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) and Dr. Murat Durakoglugil (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center). All grant applications were scored using the NIH scale resulting in the finest proposals receiving funding.

Also announced was the establishment of the Edith Royal Caregiver Support Fund. The $25,000 permanent and restricted endowment will be managed by the Alzheimer’s Association Capital of Texas Chapter. The fund will provide vital education and support for those caring for a loved one afflicted with this terrible disease.

In attendance were hundreds of friends, former athletes and supporters from around the state committed to honoring Coach Royal and making a difference in the battle against this debilitating disease. The heartbreaking reality of Alzheimer’s Disease hit home when a touching tribute video spotlighting Coach Royal’s many successes but included his struggle with AD was played for the crowd. Especially touching was the moment in the video when Edith tearfully wished that she had more chances to remind Coach of her everlasting love.

Respect for the iconic coach and the mission he and Mrs. Royal chose to undertake about one year prior to his death was on display throughout the event from the burnt orange ‘red’ carpet, to a tunnel filled with photos and video from the 1968-1969 National Championship game against Arkansas, to the UT Alumni Band who got the crowd on their feet and ready to cheer on Vince Gill & Friends.

“It was a pleasure to come to Austin and honor the great Darrell Royal. I love that man, and I’ll never forget my time with him as long as I live,” said two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year and multi-Grammy award-winning country artist Vince Gill. “As is the case with so many, our family too has been touched by Alzheimer’s Disease. What a treat for me to come down here, honor his memory, and work with my friend Ben Crenshaw.”

Despite some tears, the evening left a hopeful note as attendees walked away with an increased awareness and knowledge of innovative research taking place to help advance the understanding and care for those living with the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease.

For more information about the DKR Fund or to view the Coach Royal tribute video, visit

About the DKR Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease

The Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease represents the pinnacle of commitment to excellence in Research and Care for Texans to attempt to cure Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in our lifetimes, to expand research into Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and expand the paradigms of care and access for Texans, enabling exposure to preventative care and treatment strategies aimed at combatting the epidemic of AD.

Darrell K Royal was an American football legend both as a player and a coach. At The University of Texas at Austin, Royal won more games than any other coach in Texas Longhorns football history. Royal was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease late in life; as a result, his family and friends have taken on the mission of funding cutting edge collaborative research and raising awareness for this debilitating disease.

Media Contacts

Debbie Hanna
Cell: 512.461.8185
Email: [email protected]
Lindsay Sloane
Email: [email protected]