Volunteer track coach selected University Park’s 2018 Citizen of the Year
Randy James, also known as Coach RJ, has been selected University Park’s 2018 Citizen of the Year.
Working with third through sixth graders, this year Randy coached five separate girls’ track and field teams in preparation for the annual Moody Family YMCA track meet. During the eight weeks of formal team practice, he spent more than 25 hours a week helping prepare them for competition. Randy began coaching track when his daughter, Maddie, now a senior at the University of Georgia, was in third grade. Randy has since been volunteering as a track coach for the past 13 years, and estimates he has coached well over 750 young athletes.
Randy was “flabbergasted” when Mayor Olin Lane Jr. called him with the news. “I was very humbled by it because I’m just doing something that I love, and I’m very blessed to have the time to dedicate to my volunteer coaching.”
Born and raised in Virginia, Randy graduated from Virginia Tech and moved to Dallas to start his career in real estate and finance. He eventually ended up in New York City with his wife Jenny to work for a hedge fund, and they made their way back to Dallas once Maddie was born. When the James family moved back to Texas, they bought a home in University Park. They have lived on Marquette for almost 21 years.
Coaching numerous teams for the yearly YMCA-sponsored track meet has been a rewarding experience for Randy. He says his favorite part of coaching is when his athletes finish their track meet with smiles on their faces knowing their hard work was rewarded, and that they are eagerly looking forward to coming back next season.
Randy’s favorite part about living in University Park is the wholehearted commitment and active participation of the parents to their kids and the greater community’s growth and well-being. He admires how the neighborhoods are genuinely interested in how the kids do. “University Park is such a great place to live,” Randy says. “Coaching is my way to give back and say thank you for all the blessings I have.”
After riding in the July 4 Parade, Randy will be presented with a plaque and a special Citizen of the Year gift during a brief ceremony at the gazebo in Goar Park.
The Citizen of the Year award was created by the City Council in 2005 to boost public awareness and appreciation for the many residents who work, often behind the scenes, to better the City's quality of life. Nominees for Citizen of the Year must:
- Be a University Park resident;
- Have worked to improve the quality of life in University Park.
Current and former Mayors and Councilmembers are not eligible for this award. If you have questions about the nomination process, please call Steve Mace at 214-987-5301 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nomination process for the 2019 Citizen of the Year will take place next spring.
Past Citizen of the Year Recipients:
2017 - Jerry Washam
2016 - Eddy Moore
2015 - Byron Egan
2014 - Youth Advisory Commission
2013 - Bill Skelton
2012 - Connie O'Neill
2011 - Jim and Judy Gibbs
2010 - Max Fuqua
2009 - Nancy Egan
2008 - Chris Murzin
2007 - Bill Pardoe
2006 - Diane Galloway
2005 - Elizabeth Farley