Texas Longhorns: Darrell Royal

Q&A: Former Texas WR Jordan Shipley

June, 11, 2014
Jordan Shipley retired from the NFL in February, and he has never been busier.

The former All-America wide receiver at Texas had an easy time transitioning into life after football following his three-year stint in the pros. Shipley has a burgeoning TV career as the host for "Bucks of Tecomate" and "Tecomate Whitetail Nation" on Outdoor Channel and is chasing his love of fishing, hunting and all things outdoors.

Shipley is also trying out acting in his spare time. He's portraying former Texas great Cotton Speyrer in "My All American," a movie about Freddie Steinmark and UT's 1969 national title team which is filming in Austin. ESPN.com recently caught up with him to talk about his new ventures, his brother and his former coach.

[+] Enlarge Jordan Shipley
John Grieshop/Getty ImagesJordan Shipley has traded professional football for an acting and outdoor television hosting career.
First off, how is the life of a movie star treating you so far?

Shipley: Oh man, I was laughing the other day because they gave me my own trailer. I think they have to. That deal is going to be really fun. Growing up here, you hear all these stories about the national championship teams in '69 and '70 and Freddie Steinmark and all these guys. To have it made into a movie is pretty special. I'm happy to be a part of it and playing Cotton.

How do you like seeing the old-time uniforms and haircuts?

Shipley: What I'm having to get used to is no facial hair. I've been bearded for a while now, so I still haven't gotten used to that. But the uniforms, it feels a lot like junior high when you have the big pads. The biggest difference is being in pads for 12 hours a day. In the NCAA and NFL, they can only keep you on the field so long. That's been a little different.

How is working with Aaron Eckhart? Think he's doing a good job portraying Darrell Royal?

Shipley: Actually, I've talked to Aaron a ton. The other day, I probably visited with him for an hour and a half. He's taking the role very seriously and it's obviously big shoes to fill. I took him to the stadium and showed him around, showed him the building and the old pictures of these guys in the movie, all the memorabilia. I think he's going to do a great job.

How did you get your break with Outdoor Channel?

Shipley: It's a pretty incredible deal. David Morris, who's a hunting legend, was co-hosting the shows with Jeff Foxworthy for a long time. I've basically taken Jeff Foxworthy's spot. It's awesome and it's a full-time job.

Josh Hamilton was supposed to come down on a hunt with these guys and his whole family got sick and had to cancel. They called me and I came down. I was in Amarillo and I drove all the way down to Laredo, about 11 hours, with my wife and did the hunt. That went great and David pulled me aside and said he was looking for somebody to take the load off of him and eventually become the face of "Tecomate." He said, 'If you think you might be ready to be done playing football ...' and I didn't even let him finish. 'I'm ready. Sign me up.' Really, I guess I should thank Josh Hamilton.

I'd imagine that kind of work takes you all over the country, right?

Shipley: Yeah, for my hosting next year we have hunts on the docket for Montana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and then I'll have some in Texas. It's all over the place.

Is there pressure when the cameras are following you on a hunt and you need results?

Shipley: There is, yeah. One hunt this year, it was down to the wire, the last afternoon of my hunt. With our schedule there's no extra days, you've got to get it done. I shot my deer from 300-something yards the last day and it was the only one I saw that was potentially for the show. So yeah, it's pressure. It's a lot like playing a football game. You've got the cameras on you and you've got to make something happen.

You knew your playing days would end eventually. Is it crazy to you that this is what you ended up doing? Or was this your plan all along?

Shipley: This is crazier to me than playing in the NFL. This was my dream job. A lot of people laugh about that. My uncles were giving me a hard time, saying, 'What are you trying to do, do all of our dream jobs?' I wanted to do something in the outdoor industry, I knew that, but to get a hosting job on one of the highest-watched show in outdoor television has been a huge blessing. It kind of just happened.

You spent some time this spring fishing with Mack Brown. How'd that go?

Shipley: It was fun. He wanted me to show him Lake Austin because he spends a lot of time out there and he knew I'd caught some really good fish out there. I took him out there and showed him some of my fishing holes, and we're going to do that again sometime.

Did he seem like he's enjoying the time off and the chance to relax?

Shipley: He told me before he does anything else, he wants to spend a good amount of time playing golf and fishing. I know him and Miss Sally have gone on some trips. I think it's been great for him to have some time to decompress. We all know that job at Texas is super stressful and a high-demand job. I'm sure he's liked having some time to be a normal person again.

Your brother, Jaxon Shipley, is entering his senior year. What are you expecting this fall?

Shipley: A lot of people don't know this, but he had a pretty significant surgery right before last season started and missed all of two-a-days. They went in and cut the attachments for his groin muscle on both sides and reattached them. They were torn and frayed everywhere. I don't know how he was even back to being able to play. That was four weeks before two-a-days.

He just didn't feel great last year, and I was impressed he played the way he did for going through that. I think watching him in the spring game, he looks like he's way ahead. I think he's going to have a great year.

Video: Texas honors Royal with wishbone

November, 10, 2012

Texas honored former coach Darrell Royal by lining up in the wishbone formation for its opening offensive play against Iowa State.

Video: Remembering Darrell Royal

November, 7, 2012

A Texas legend has died.

From our news story:
AUSTIN, Texas -- Darrell K Royal, the former Texas football coach known as much for his folksy, simplistic approach to life as for his creative wishbone offenses and two outright national championships, has died. He was 88.

University of Texas spokesman Nick Voinis on Wednesday confirmed Royal's death. Royal had suffered from Alzheimer's disease and recently fell at an assisted living center where he was receiving care.

Royal will certainly be missed in the world of college football and in the Texas community.
As part of our Red River Rivalry in July, we look at five plays from the Red River Rivalry that OU fans would rather forget.

Royal’s Roll gets started
Bobby Lackey threw only five passes against Oklahoma in 1958. He wasn’t even the starter when the game began. That duty had fallen on the shoulders of Vince Matthews. But in the fourth quarter, when Texas, down by six, needed a play, it was Lackey who was under center against the No. 2 Sooners.

Texas had not beaten OU in eight years. This was perhaps the Longhorns’ best chance. Lackey had Texas at the OU 10-yard line when he rolled out to find Bill Bryant for the tying touchdown. The sophomore from Welasco, Texas followed up the touchdown pass with an extra point to give Texas a one-point lead. He added a 28-yard interception on the Sooners’ ensuing drive to seal the game.

It was the first of eight straight wins over Oklahoma for coach Darrell Royal.

[+] EnlargeJordan Shipley
Tim Heitman/US PresswireJordan Shipley's kickoff return TD along with 11 catches and another score turned the 2008 Red River Rivalry for Texas.
Bubba’s scoop and score
Peter Gardere was 4-0 against Oklahoma in his career at Texas. But it wasn’t the quarterback’s arm that propelled the Longhorns to a win in 1991. Instead it was the hands and the quick feet of Bubba Jacques. With 13:30 left to play and Texas on the wrong end of a 7-3 score to the No. 6 Sooners, Jacques scooped up fumble by OU fullback Mike McKinley and went 30 yards for what would be the game-winning touchdown.

However, it might have been the play before the play that turned the 5-foot-9 Jacques into a giant that day. Jacques told the media following the game that he had noticed OU’s ball carriers were holding it high and told his teammates in the huddle to tackle the ball. James Patterson did just that when he went after McKinley. The ball came loose and Jacques, after finally securing the ball after three bounces, was running loose into the end zone.

Cashing In
Keith Cash was part of a package deal when he signed at Texas. Of course there was his brother Kerry, but also in the mix was another San Antonio Holmes High standout wide receiver, Johnny Walker. The trio dubbed themselves the “Posse.” The goal was to return Texas to national prominence. Keith Cash’s play in the final minutes against No. 4 Oklahoma in 1990 helped to do just that.

On a 4th-and-7 at the OU 16 with two minutes to play, Cash grabbed a touchdown pass from Peter Gardere to give Texas a 14-13 lead. It was the second straight year a member of the “Posse” came up with a game-winning grab. Walker had a 25-yard touchdown from Gardere with 1:33 left to play in the 1989 game.

Texas, who had not been ranked in the top five since 1984, made it to a No. 3 ranking that year before being crushed by Miami in the Cotton Bowl.

(Read full post)

Together they formed an unusual triumvirate -- Joe Jamail, Willie Nelson and Darrell Royal -- a lawyer, a country singer and a football coach.

On the night after more than five months of testimony had wrapped up in the biggest case of Jamail’s and the Texas court system’s life, there was the football coach knocking on the door, the singer holding the beer. It was also 12 hours before closing arguments were to begin in Pennzoil vs. Texaco.

Texas/Texas A&M 1962
AP PhotoDarrell Royal has maintained his friendship with Joe Jamail for more than 50 years.
The best of friends and always there for the other. Maybe even when they weren’t supposed to be.

A few beers wouldn’t hurt. They never did with these three.

Jamail closed the case with a final argument worth $11.12 billion. He still has a memento from the settlement -- a check for $3 billion in acrylic glass – on a shelf in his office. He also has the photo of Royal and Nelson, from that night, mounted and much bigger than the check on the wall of his office.

That memory was just one of many in Jamail’s relationship with Royal that has spanned more than 50 years. When they first met, it was Royal who needed help.

“(My wife Lee) called and said, ‘I just got a call from Jack Josey.’ He was vice president of the board of regents at the time and a good friend,” Jamail said.

“[Josey] said he wanted to bring Darrell Royal by to meet her. I said, ‘he has got to be kidding you baby.’ Darrell, he hit Texas running and went to the Sugar Bowl his first year.”

Josey was not. Royal wanted to visit, and he had a motive.

“He was recruiting a football player named Bobby Wuensch, who was all-everything,” Jamail said. “And he knew, or somehow found out, that Lee and Bobby Wuensch’s mother Opal went to San Marcos Academy as children together … We were very close friends, but Wuensch’s uncle was dean of men at A&M. So it was going to be a problem for him … That’s how I met Darrell and he left.”

The Jamails later visited the Wuensches and Lee took over as recruiter.

“Lee put it on Opal like a mustard plaster … She said A&M’s just another Boy Scout school,” Joe said of his wife. “He’s not going to make any friends of up there that can help him. [Opal told the Jamails] we don’t have the clothes for Bobby to go over to Texas. Lee looked at her and said, 'Let me worry about that.' ”

With a new suit and an upset Aggie family, Wuensch became a Longhorn. He would eventually become a two-time All-American and captain of the 1970 national championship team.

“We never told Darrell about that,” Jamail said. “He still doesn’t know to this day.”

Mack Brown talks retirement, fatigue

March, 22, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Despite having the support of her administration and two years left on her contract, Texas women's basketball coach Gail Goestenkors resigned on Monday, and by Monday night, had a text waiting from Longhorns football coach Mack Brown.

He thanked her for her work, and told her he appreciated her.

"Who in the world knows how somebody feels?" Brown said.

Brown doesn't know exactly, but when Goestenkors says things like "My heart's telling me it's time to take a break," Brown knew he had some idea of what she was going through.

It came from a conversation with legendary Longhorns coach Darrell Royal back in 2003, when Brown felt similar to Goestenkors.

"I asked him, 'Why did you quit?'" Brown said. "And there were reasons. But he said that when the losses became devastating and the wins became relief and it wasn't fun to even win, because you were supposed to, then I needed to get out."

Brown, then in his sixth season and third of what would be nine consecutive 10-win seasons, said he just needed to "wake up."

Two years later, he won a national championship and his second consecutive Rose Bowl.

That feeling crept back in during the Longhorns' trying 5-7 season in 2010. Even Texas' signature victory of that campaign didn't offer the same kind of pleasure such a win used to, Brown said.

"I remember beating Nebraska, walking off the field and I was worried about [Brown's wife] Sally because she lost her brother," Brown said. "I didn't have any joy in that win and that was stupid because it was a huge win for Texas and these kids. I didn't feel it walking off the field because of her loss and I felt a little guilty I was there without her and her brother being buried."

He saw the same in Goestenkors, Brown said. He needed another wakeup call after 2010, and may have got it in a new staff with two new, young coordinators, Manny Diaz (defense) and Bryan Harsin (offense). Bouncing back for eight wins may have helped, too, but Texas has bigger things in mind for 2012 and beyond: Namely, a return to the excellence Brown established in his first decade at the helm in Austin.

"If you're going to walk around and pout when you lose, act like a baby, and when you win act arrogant, not feel good about a win because Texas is supposed to win -- we don't anoint ourselves supposed to win -- then you're in some trouble and you need to have fun," Brown said. "You need to have joy."


Texas Longhorns Show Out On Pro Day
The Texas Longhorns produced several eligible NFL Draft athletes who participated in Pro Day Tuesday afternoon in Austin, Texas.