Northwestern State football cancels rest of season, coach resigns after shooting death of player

Two people, including a Demons player, have been arrested in connection with the shooting, but have not been charged with Ronnie Caldwell’s death

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Northwestern State has canceled the remainder of its 2023 football season weeks after the shooting death of junior safety Ronnie Caldwell. Additionally, sixth-year coach Brad Laird has resigned from his position as the season draws to an early end. 

The news comes days after Maurice Campbell II, a senior nose tackle on the Demons, was arrested on various charges connected with Caldwell’s death, including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance and obstruction of justice, according to Shreveport, Louisiana TV station KTBS. Caldwell’s roommate, John McIntosh, was also arrested and charged with similar gun charges. Neither has been charged with Caldwell’s death as the investigation remains open. 

“Ronnie was a beloved member of our community and we miss him dearly,” NSU president Marcus Jones said. “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 take this time to mourn, to heal, and to support Ronnie’s family.” 

Caldwell was shot multiple times in his apartment around 1:08 a.m. local time near Northwestern State’s campus. Police attempted aid on Caldwell, but he ultimately did not survive. The junior from Austin, Texas, started 10 games after transferring from Tyler Junior College in 2022. He missed the start of the 2023 season after suffering an injury during fall camp, but remained involved as a de facto student assistant. 

Northwestern State football canceled its matchup against Nicholls two days after the homicide, but kept open the possibility of returning later in the season. The Demons returned to action on Oct. 19 against Southeastern Louisiana, losing 37-20. However, after the further arrests, the team opted to cancel the season with four games remaining.

Laird, a former Northwestern State quarterback, coached the Demons for six seasons, compiling a 16-40 record. He previously had two stints as NSU’s defensive coordinator. 

“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.”

Assistant head coach Weston Glaser will take over as interim head coach while Northwestern State athletics begins a search for its next head coach. 

 

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