One of the most versatile players of his era, T.D. Parks set himself apart in the Missouri Valley Conference as a punishing running back, hawk-like defensive back, stellar kick returner and outstanding receiver.
The Lewisville, Texas native was a vital part of the destructive North Texas ground game that set many of the program’s top marks and powered the way for one of the best seasons in Mean Green history in 1959.
That year, Parks ranked second on the team with a 6.6 yards-per-carry average, rushing 33 times for 219 yards. He led the Missouri Valley Conference in interceptions with five picks for 80 yards, which tied for sixth in the nation. Also a receiving threat out of the backfield, Parks had six catches for 91 yards.
Behind Parks and All-Americans Abner Haynes and Bill Carrico, NT racked up a 9 2 record and earned a trip to the Sun Bowl. A 5 -10, 160 pound bruiser, Parks was a part of North Texas’ record 13game home win streak, which elevated the team to a program-best No. 16 ranking in the Associated Press and UPI polls. The Eagles also left their mark in the record books, using a nine-back combo to gouge Texas-El Paso for 414 rushing yards, which still stands as the second best mark in school history.
In 1960, the diverse senior carried even more of the load and earned Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors. He finished third on the team with 45 carries for 229 yards, good for an average of 5.1 yards per carry. Parks proved a clutch receiver out of the backfield with 10 catches for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Despite being on the field almost the entire game, he also led the team with seven kick returns for 168 yards, an astonishing average of 24.0 per return.
The same drive that made Terry a success in sports helped him succeed in business and in life as a loving husband and father. Terry Don married his high school sweetheart, Sheila White and had two daughters, Elaine and Natalie, and a son Scott. His time with family and friends ended prematurely when he passed away of a heart attack at the age of 51.
All those acquaintances and teammates who had the privilege of playing with him and calling Terry a friend will remember the dedication to excellence that made him special both on and off the field. He exemplified the characteristics that every North Texas athlete should strive to emulate.