Northwestern State cancels rest of season, coach resigns


Northwestern State canceled the remainder of its football season Thursday following the recent shooting death of junior safety Ronnie Caldwell.

Brad Laird also resigned as head coach of the FCS program in Natchitoches, La. Weston Glaser, the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, will serve as interim head coach while the school launches a search for Laird's successor.

Local police said Caldwell, 21, was shot multiple times just after 1 a.m. on Oct. 12 at an apartment complex near Northwestern State's campus.

Northwestern State canceled its game against Nicholls that weekend, then moved up a home game against Southeastern Louisiana from Oct. 21 to Oct. 19 so players and staff could attend Caldwell's wake and funeral services in Austin, Texas.

The 0-6 Demons had four games left on their schedule, including a homecoming game against Houston Christian Nov. 4.

"Ronnie was a beloved member of our community, and we miss him dearly," Northwestern State president Dr. Marcus Jones said in a statement. "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."

Laird was in his sixth season as the Demons' head coach and had an all-time win-loss record of 16-41.

"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," Laird said. "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."

--Field Level Media

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