Richard "Dick" Cecil began his athletic career as a baseball player at Lincoln High School in Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Arts and then became their freshman baseball coach in 1956. Shortly after, Cecil became a scout for the Atlanta Braves. Throughout his career with the Braves, Cecil served as Assistant Farm System Director, Administrative Assistant, Business Manager, Assistant to the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Vice President of the Atlanta Braves Organization.
In 1966, the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club decided to bring a professional soccer team to the city, and Cecil chose to lead the effort. He first recruited Phil Woosnam as coach and general manager and then the two of them scouted countries like France, Sweden, South Africa, France, Zambia, Ghana and more for potential players. The team that was assembled became the Atlanta Chiefs in 1967. The next year they won the NASL Championship. That season, the Chiefs famously defeated beat Manchester City twice. Cecil served as President and Co-Owner of the Atlanta Chiefs from 1979 to 1981.
Throughout his career, Cecil also acted as Chairman of the National Professional Soccer League's Players Committee, founding Director of the NASL, member of the International Games Committee of the USSF, consultant to Coca-Coca USA on domestic soccer programs, director of the east coast football venues for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, producer of the 1986 FIF/UNICEF World All-Star Games, consultant to the 1994 World Cup USA and consultant to the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. In 1997, he was inducted into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame.