Villarreal has established his place as one of the most progressive and
successful athletics administrators in the nation. In 11 years as the Director of Athletics,
Villarreal developed and brought to fruition the most extensive facility development
plan in the history of North Texas Athletics.
He is also responsible for creating the organizational foundation for a
department that has seen unprecedented academic and competitive success during
over on April 4, 2001, Villarreal has brought to realization a dream of the
Mean Green community - an administrator who can raise money, build facilities,
direct championship teams with quality coaches while helping develop the lives
The ultimate recognition of Villarreal’s success was realized when Conference
USA announced that North Texas would be one of six schools that would be
invited to join the flourishing league beginning in the fall of 2013. The undeniable achievement that Villarreal
led North Texas to in the Sun Belt Conference was a critical factor in making
the department attractive to other leagues.
led the Mean Green to a premiere position in the Sun Belt Conference, winning
18 conference championships and finishing among the top three in the Sun Belt
Conference all-sports championship standings nine out of the his 11 years.
In the fall
of 2011, North Texas unveiled Apogee Stadium, the centerpiece of the recently
developed Mean Green Village, which encompasses most of the academic, training
and competition facilities for NT's nearly 400 student-athletes.
capacity of nearly 31,000, the $78 million Apogee stadium project brought the
university a multi-use facility with amenities comparable to the best in the
nation. It was completed in time and on
budget and also earned the prestigious LEED Platinum certification, making it
the first newly constructed collegiate football stadium in the nation to earn
the highest energy efficiency rating.
is also responsible for building an $8 million athletic facility that houses a
state-of-the-art training suite as well as administration and football offices
to go along with football locker rooms.
The Mean Green Village development project overseen by Villarreal included
the acquisition of additional property and the renovation and construction of
new venues for basketball (practice), soccer, softball, golf and volleyball as
well as a new academic center for student-athletes.
As part of a joint strategic plan with the University, Villarreal was also
instrumental in the fundraising, design and construction of a $3 million tennis
Just as impressive and more important is the significant progress made in both
academics and women’s sports. Graduation rates have improved by 50 percent to
over 60 percent for student-athletes in the past 11 years and the department’s
current overall GPA is the highest of his tenure. In addition, the program,
which upon his arrival lacked facilities and other components essential to
success in women’s sports, has been recognized by the Penn State Gender Equity
Report Card as the No. 1 program in the country in recent years.
Further evidence of Villarreal’s leadership was his service on the Sun Belt
Conference Executive Committee that concluded in 2008. He also recently
completed stints on the NCAA Div. I Managment Council and the NCAA Membership
Committee. He currently serves as the Sun Belt representative on the board of
NCAA Football and was just appointed to a three-year term on the NCAA
Villarreal came to Denton after three years at the University of Southern
Mississippi, where he served as associate athletic director. He has also been a
successful coach, football administrator, private businessman and athletic
At Southern Miss, Villarreal served as a leading force in major gift
fund-raising. He initiated the Circle of Champions, a group of donors that
pledges at least $100,000 each. The Circle of Champions now stands at 61 members.
He also spearheaded a fund-raising effort that resulted in the commitment of
over $8 million, which resulted in the construction of a new athletic center,
new baseball clubhouse and a women’s softball stadium. Villarreal was also
involved with plans for a future football stadium and renovation of the
Before moving into administration at USM, Villarreal was a football coach and
football administrator from 1988 to 1997. He served as Director of Football
Operations and Assistant Athletic Director at TCU for three years from
1995-1997 for coach Pat Sullivan. Villarreal served on the staff of Curly
Hallman at LSU from 1991 to 1995 where he served in several different roles at
LSU, starting as Director of Football Operations and Recruiting Coordinator and
later coaching tight ends. He got his coaching start under Hallman at USM
working from 1988 through 1990 as a student assistant and graduate assistant
working with wide receivers, running backs and special teams.
Villarreal proved himself as a successful businessman as owner and operator of
an eight-unit Domino’s Pizza group in Decatur, Ala., and served as President of
the Southeast Region Franchise Association (1984 -86). His company generated
sales that exceeded $5 million annually and his stores were ranked in the top
20 percent in the country.
A native of Gulfport, Miss., and a 1975 graduate of St. John High School,
Villarreal received his bachelor’s degree in coach and sports administration
from Southern Mississippi in 1989.
Rick and his wife D’Lynn are the parents of three children – Kimberly,
Justin and Tony and have three grandchildren, Jayden, Katelyn and