Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
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Year Opened: 1924 | Field Surface: Natural Grass
Everything is bigger in Texas, as is commonly said, and while that may be a bit of a stretch in some areas, football is not one of them. Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is a perfect example. The stadium seats more than 100,000 of the most faithful of Longhorns fans.
The venue opened Nov. 8, 1924, when 13,500 fans saw Texas lose 28-10 to Baylor. A few weeks later the stadium was dedicated to the 198,520 Texans who fought in World War I and the 5,280 who lost their lives in that war; this time 35,000 fans came out to see Texas blank Texas A&M on Thanksgiving and take home a 7-0 victory.
In 1977, the stadium was rededicated to honor veterans of all wars, and in 1996 the venue was renamed for legendary coach Royal, who guided the Longhorns to national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970 and is credited in the evolution of college football for installing the wishbone offense at UT in 1968.
The 2010 season made stadium history when visiting UCLA rolled into town and looked up to see 101,437 Horns fans begging for their team to "hook 'em"; alas, the record crowd was disappointed when the Bruins prevailed 34-12.
The football team played its home games at Clark Field from 1896-1924.
Simple as it may seem and perhaps even more simplistic in its creation, the Hook 'em Horns hand signal has been a staple among students, faculty, staff and athletics alike since its introduction at a pep rally in 1955.
An UT student and head cheerleader named Harley Clark knew that his team needed something with which to gain fan spirit. Intrastate rival Texas A&M had the Gig 'em gesture that worked well throughout the campus and the community. Fellow student Henry Pitts had shown the Longhorn sign to Clark a few days prior to the pep rally. Clark was going to use the hand gesture to sell the student body on the symbolic resemblance it has to the school's mascot, Bevo. Leaving the pep rally that day, it was clear that the gesture had the student body hooked.
Clark has since served Texas as a state district judge and remains connected to UT in a number of ways. However, whenever Clark is featured at a speaking engagement, he is always introduced as the person who began the Hook 'em sign.
Source: University of Texas
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