INDIANAPOLIS — Mychel Richardson, a 10-year-old youth football player, regards the late Richard Donnell Hamilton as a father figure and is heartbroken over his coach’s death.
“If I got mad, he would help me like build back up,” Richardson said.
Hamilton, lovingly called “Coach Nell”, was killed in what Indiana State Police deemed a road rage shooting on Wednesday.
The crime happened around 6:30 p.m. when someone shot at the van Hamilton was riding in on I-65 north at the County Line Road exit.
Richardson devoted his life to kids and mentored them through the Indy Steelers youth football program. During a memorial service Monday at the MLK Center, it was clear his words and examples stuck.
“He believed kids should make good grades,” Carletha Buggs said. “He would often work with the moms if the kids were getting in trouble at school.”
The Indy Steelers Program begins when kids are about kindergarten age and Coach Nell’s family says this he provides an example the city needs to follow: be a mentor and make an impact.
“It just takes your time and caring about these kids,” Damon Lee, Hamilton’s cousin, said. “No matter how big or small the program is, Coach Nell would want more people to get involved.”
Karter Massey said he will never forget how Coach Nell taught his players to handle conflict, which included running head-to-head with their pads on.
“He was like, ‘if ya’ll want to argue don’t resort to gun violence or don’t result to knuckling up,'” Massey said.
For the players, Coach Nell’s death is like losing a parent.
“He was like a father to all of us,” Miguel Downey said. “Knowing that we have lost him, it has boosted our spirits to work harder and never give up – even if we’re down.”
ISP said they are still investigating this case and searching for the person responsible for killing Coach Nell. Police are currently searching for a silver or gray sedan with dark-tinted windows.
If you have any information that could help them in this case, call Crimestoppers at 317-262-TIPS.