Rick Herold ('84, '85 M.S.), 67, of Grand Prairie, who won the highest national recognition for his parks and recreation programs, died April 8.
He served as a parks and recreation director for 38 years, leading innovative projects for 16 years in Euless -- where he helped create a golf course, conference center and other facilities -- and for 16 ½ years in Grand Prairie. There he spearheaded The Epic, one of the nation’s biggest and most versatile recreation centers, and other facilities aimed at specific groups, such as a center for Baby Boomers and an inclusive playground. He retired in 2018 after a career in which he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration, won two National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medals, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society.
He was a mentor to students and others in his field and had served as a guest speaker for many of UNT's recreation, event and sport management classes. A member of the board of directors for the North Texas Alumni Association for five years and a member of the President's Council, he received several awards for his service to UNT. He was named an Outstanding Alumnus by the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, and he received the university’s Ulys Knight Spirit Award in 2002. He spoke at the 2006 and 2017 commencements. He also was a member of the Chilton Society and was a very devoted Mean Green basketball and football fan.
He was known for being a prankster and for years attended John Cougar Mellencamp concerts around the country. He was featured in the Summer 2016 issue of the North Texan.
Memorials may be made to the Rick Herold Parks and Recreation Endowed Scholarship, UNT Division of Advancement, 1115 Union Circle #311250, Denton, Texas 76203-5017. He also founded the Julia Wakeley Scholarship in the KHPR department.