Northwestern State Halts Football Season Following Player’s Fatal Shooting

by Ethan Kim
Airport Protests

Northwestern State University has called off the remaining part of its football season in light of the tragic shooting death of Ronnie Caldwell, the team’s safety. The university expressed its concern for the mental well-being of the players as the primary reason for this decision.

Marcus Jones, the President of Northwestern State, stated, “Ronnie was a cherished part of our community, and his absence is deeply felt. Initially, we considered resuming our football schedule after his passing. However, we have come to recognize the extent of emotional trauma affecting our team. It is crucial now for the players, coaching staff, and other personnel to take a step back and utilize this time for mourning, healing, and supporting Ronnie’s family.”

The university also confirmed the resignation of head coach Brad Laird, who was in his sixth season leading the team. Laird announced, “I find myself unable to fully commit to these players or this program under the current circumstances. Coaches often consider their players as extended family, making Ronnie’s loss akin to losing a family member. I have the utmost faith that the university and the program will continue to thrive.”

Ronnie Caldwell, a junior safety originating from Cedar Park, Texas, had been sidelined due to injury but was accompanying the team in an advisory role, focusing on guiding defensive backs.

Kevin Bostian, the athletics director, commented on Laird’s resignation, stating that Laird had not only been a coach but also an alumnus who had played quarterback for the Demons and had even worked in the university’s alumni office. “We are grateful for Coach Laird’s years of dedication to Northwestern State football,” he said.

The athletic department announced that Weston Glaser, the defensive coordinator, would serve as the interim head coach while the university initiates an immediate search for a permanent replacement.

Marcus Jones concluded, “We extend our gratitude to our players, families, friends, and the entire Northwestern State community for your comprehension of this arduous decision. Your support in these trying times is invaluable.”

On the fateful night of October 12, Caldwell was discovered dead with multiple gunshot wounds at an apartment complex near the campus. Natchitoches police officers, who responded shortly after 1 a.m. following a shooting report, found him. The local coroner’s office declared him dead on the scene. Authorities have made no arrests to date, and the investigation is ongoing.

Caldwell had joined the Demons after transferring from Tyler Junior College post the 2021 football season. During the 2022 season, he participated in all 11 games, starting in 10, and was ranked seventh on the team for tackles.

Following Caldwell’s passing, Northwestern had already cancelled one game and rescheduled another to allow the team members and staff to attend his funeral services in Texas. The team’s season will officially end with a 0-6 record.

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For AP college football news, visit AP Top 25 College Football Poll and College Football News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Northwestern State Football Season Cancelled

What is the primary reason for the cancellation of Northwestern State’s football season?

The primary reason for canceling the remaining part of Northwestern State University’s football season is the shooting death of Ronnie Caldwell, a safety on the team. The university cited concerns for the mental well-being of its players as the motivating factor for this decision.

Who was Ronnie Caldwell?

Ronnie Caldwell was a junior safety for Northwestern State University’s football team, the Demons. He hailed from Cedar Park, Texas, and had recently been unable to play due to an injury. Despite his injury, he traveled with the team in an advisory role, focusing on guiding defensive backs.

What did President Marcus Jones say about the cancellation?

President Marcus Jones of Northwestern State University stated that the decision to cancel the season was made in light of the emotional trauma affecting the team. He emphasized the importance of taking time for mourning, healing, and supporting Ronnie Caldwell’s family.

Has the head coach of the team resigned?

Yes, Brad Laird, the head coach of Northwestern State’s football team, has resigned. He cited his inability to fully commit to the players or the program under the current circumstances as the reason for his resignation.

Who will be stepping in as the interim head coach?

Weston Glaser, who served as the defensive coordinator for the team, will act as the interim head coach. The athletic department will begin an immediate search for a permanent head coach.

What are the details surrounding Ronnie Caldwell’s death?

Ronnie Caldwell was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at an apartment complex near the Northwestern State campus. Natchitoches police officers discovered him after responding to a report of a shooting shortly after 1 a.m. on October 12. The local coroner’s office declared him dead at the scene. The case remains under investigation and no arrests have been made.

What was Ronnie Caldwell’s role in the team during the 2022 season?

During the 2022 season, Ronnie Caldwell appeared in all 11 games, starting in 10. He was ranked seventh on the team for tackles.

How has the team’s schedule been affected by this tragedy?

One game was immediately canceled following Ronnie Caldwell’s death, and another was rescheduled to allow team members and staff to attend his funeral services in Texas. The team’s season will officially conclude with a 0-6 record.

What did the athletic director say about the resignation of Brad Laird?

Kevin Bostian, the athletic director, expressed gratitude for Brad Laird’s years of service to Northwestern State football. He noted that Laird was not only a coach but also an alumnus who had played as a quarterback for the team and worked in the university’s alumni office.

Is there any update on the police investigation?

As of now, no arrests have been made in connection with Ronnie Caldwell’s death. The investigation remains ongoing.

More about Northwestern State Football Season Cancelled

  • Northwestern State University Official Statement
  • Natchitoches Police Department Press Release
  • In Memoriam: Ronnie Caldwell
  • Announcement of Brad Laird’s Resignation
  • AP Top 25 College Football Poll
  • College Football News on Player Safety and Mental Health
  • Northwestern State University Athletic Department Update
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Guidelines on Player Well-being

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Tommy W. October 27, 2023 - 9:04 am

Honestly, they did the right thing. no way the team can focus on football after something like this. It’s time for healing, not playing.

Linda K October 27, 2023 - 11:29 am

My heart goes out to Ronnie’s family. It must be devastating. Good on Northwestern for putting people before the game.

Billy T October 27, 2023 - 12:19 pm

mental health is so overlooked sometimes. Glad to see it’s being prioritized here. Can’t just expect people to move on like nothings happened.

Mike Jenson October 27, 2023 - 2:59 pm

Wow, this is just heartbreaking. Hard to imagine what the team is goin thru right now. mental health should always come first.

Janet W October 27, 2023 - 3:13 pm

I can’t even imagine how the parents are feeling. Losing a child is the worst thing ever. Healing will take time for everyone involved.

Gary S October 27, 2023 - 4:30 pm

Hope they catch whoever did this. No family should have to go thru such pain. Kudos to the Univ for handling it with sensitivity.

Diane Fields October 27, 2023 - 5:13 pm

This is so sad. I knew Ronnie, went to high school with him. Can’t believe he’s gone. The university is right to put mental health first.

Sandra O'Neil October 27, 2023 - 11:41 pm

That’s really tragic. I can’t blame the coach for stepping down. How can you focus on a game when a life is lost? Prayers for everyone involved.

Rick Foster October 28, 2023 - 2:41 am

The situation is terrible, but I’m glad to see that the University is taking mental health seriously. Too often these things get swept under the rug.

Steve_M October 28, 2023 - 3:47 am

Its really a no-win situation for everyone. The season’s tanked, but that’s not what matters. Life’s more important than a game.


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