Letters to the Coach: Steve Collier

9/13/2012

Dear Coach Royal,

When asked by friends and acquaintances about what was it like to play under Coach Royal (and I’m asked more than you think), I am quick to say that it was an honor to play for a class act - a man of integrity.

I define a man of integrity as someone whose life is “integrated,” he is the same good person on and off the field, by himself or in a stadium of observers. This kind of man inspires selfless teamwork. He inspires excellence without having to demand it. He brings the best out of his men because of their admiration and (can I say) love for their leader.

My exposure to your direct coaching was limited because my time was spent mostly with Coach Campbell on the defensive end of the field, so I don’t have any funny anecdotes or stories. But I do recall with great fondness and nostalgia the recruiting calls, your coming to meet a lowly high schooler from the small town of Forney, Texas (on your way to Tyler to sign Earl Campbell), your presence on the burnt orange metal tower during practice, your calm, confident pre-game and half-time talks, and your fair assessment of young men and their abilities without taking into account their color or appearance (hair grew a little longer then).

It may sound a bit too poetic, but I am an artist and can get away with such gushy sentiments. You were a surrogate father to the many teenagers who came under your leadership. You were a good gift to us. James 1:17 says, “Every good an perfect gift is from above…”

You may balk at these sentiments and may not remember them as we do (a sign of the humble man you are), but it makes them no less true. Ask the men you led over the years.

You have hundreds of sons who will carry your imprint of integrity and pass it on for generations.

Thank you so much Coach,
Steve Collier
Running back, linebacker, free safety, strong safety, architect, husband, father
Proud Longhorn 1974 - 1977