Fred Akers, former Texas Longhorns football coach who replaced Darrell Royal, died on Monday, the school announced. He was 82 years old. Akers won a total of 108 games in his college football coaching career and took Texas to 10 bowl games.
"It's a very sad day with the news of the passing of one of our Longhorn Legends in Coach Akers," current Texas head coach Tom Herman said as reported by ESPN. "In the opportunities I had to spend time with Coach, he was always so warm and gracious. The many, many great players he had at Texas have always shared such fond memories, too. He had tremendous success here and was a highly respected, all-time great in our coaching fraternity and beyond. On behalf of the Texas Football program, we send our sincere condolences to his family, friends, the numerous Longhorns he coached and worked with, as well as the many people whose lives he impacted."
Akers was hired as Texas' coach in 1977 and made an immediate impact. In that 1977 season, Akers led the Longhorns to an 11-1 record and a Southwest Conference title. He had another 11-win season in 1983 but came up short of winning the national championship, falling to Georgia in the Cotton Bowl. Akers was the head coach for 10 seasons and won 86 games. Prior to being the head coach, Akers was Texas' co-offensive coordinator from 1966-1974. One of his most famous players was running back Pro Football Hall of Famer Earl Campbell who helped the Longhorns earn 11 wins in 1977.
"I think people are not as aware as they should be about what Fred accomplished at the University. Royal did a lot. Fred did too," Campbell said. "I did not even really know too much about the Heisman Trophy. I found out real quick what it was and he showed me exactly how to win one. My brothers Steve, Tim and I were very fortunate to have been able to play for him. He was a special man. I will miss him."
Akers was the coach for Wyoming for two seasons before landing the job at Texas. In 1987, Akers became the coach at Purdue but couldn't find the same success as won just 12 games in four seasons. His final coaching destination was in 1999 when he was named coach of the Shreveport Knights of the short-lived Regional Football League.