NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Northwestern State University has accepted the resignation of head football coach Brad Laird, according to a statement from University President Marcus Jones. The Demons have also canceled the remainder of the football season.

The sudden death of defensive back Ronnie Caldwell has weighed heavy on the Northwestern State football team.

“We initially thought that continuing with the football season would be a way to honor Ronnie and help our team find solace. However, we’ve come to understand that the pain and grief within our team runs too deep,” Jones said in a statement. “In light of this, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of the 2023 football season.”

In six seasons since taking over the program, Laird has compiled a 16-41 record, 15-25 in Southland Conference play.

“Additionally, we have accepted Brad Laird’s resignation as head football coach, who was profoundly affected by the tragedy and has expressed a desire to step away from the program,” said Jones. “We thank him for his dedication and service. Coach Laird remains a proud alum and will continue to support our football program.”

The search for a new football coach begins immediately.

“Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator, Weston Glaser, will be stepping in as our interim head coach and our search for a new head coach will begin immediately,” Jones said.

Canceling the season was a difficult decision for the Northwestern State Administration.

“Some events are indeed bigger than football, and this difficult decision reaffirms our commitment to putting the wellbeing of our people first,” Jones said.