October 27, 2023

Northwestern State Cancels Football Season After Murder of Player

There is a saying in sports that the game goes on, regardless of what else is happening.

That will not be the case for Northwestern State’s football program this year.

The remainder of the season was canceled, and the head coach, Brad Laird, resigned after the shooting death of one of his players.

Looking Out for the Kids

I have heard of some pretty horrific events taking place, and games have sometimes been canceled, but it is a rare occurrence when you hear of an entire season being canceled.

The decision was made this week, however, to cancel Northwestern State’s remaining games due to the horrific death of defensive back Ronnie Caldwell.

The school cited the "mental health and well-being" of the student-athletes as the reason for canceling the season.

NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones stated, "Ronnie was a beloved member of our community, and we miss him dearly.

"While our instinct was to return to the field of play following his death, we've since learned that the hurt on our team was too deep. Now it is in the best interest of our players, coaches and staff to pause and to take this time to mourn, to heal and to support Ronnie's family."

Head coach Brad Laird also decided to retire after the season was canceled. He had been coaching there for six seasons.

Laird stated, "Due to the loss of Ronnie and the emotional burden it has caused me, I don't feel I can give my all to these players or this program.

"Any coach will tell you that their players become like family, so the loss of Ronnie was like losing a son. I love this program and this university, and I know it will persevere and move forward with the competitive spirit that is at the core of our DNA."

Caldwell was found in the early morning hours of October 12 with multiple gunshot wounds and transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

His roommate, 27-year-old John McIntosh, was later arrested on gun and drug charges, but he was not charged in the death of Caldwell.

According to local police, Caldwell’s death is still under investigation.

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