NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University announced on October 26, that it has canceled the remainder of the 2023 football season due to the recent passing of junior safety, Ronnie Caldwell. The school cites the mental health and wellbeing of its student-athletes as the primary reason for its decision.
“Ronnie was a beloved member of our community, and we miss him dearly,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones. “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.”
The school has also accepted the resignation of head coach, Brad Laird, who was in his sixth season as head coach of the Demons football team.
“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.”
Caldwell, a junior safety from Cedar Park, Texas, had been persevering through an injury, traveling with the team in a coaching capacity, helping other defensive backs with their technique and schemes. His death remains under investigation by the Natchitoches Police Department.
“We appreciate Coach Laird’s long-term investment in Northwestern State football. From his undergraduate time as a record-setting quarterback to his year spent overseeing the university’s alumni office to coaching, he has been a vital member of the team,” said Director of Athletics Kevin Bostian. “While we are disappointed not to be able to finish the season, we are confident that better days lie ahead for Northwestern State football.”
Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Weston Glaser will step in as interim head coach while the athletic department begins an immediate search for its next head coach.
“I want to thank our team, family, friends and the whole Northwestern State community for your understanding of this difficult decision,” Jones said. “We appreciate your support during this challenging time.”
All ticket refund inquiries for the remaining two home games should be directed to Scott Maggio at email@example.com. Media inquiries should be directed to Jason Pugh at firstname.lastname@example.org.