For the 14th consecutive year, Northwestern State’s football players will commemorate the annual “Chris Waddell Day” observance with a series of community service activities Thursday, and for the first time, his mother and cousin will join the Demons.
Celeste Waddell, his mother, will participate for the first time in the daylong series of six school visits honoring the former Demon football player who passed away suddenly before 2004 spring practice. She has returned to NSU regularly since her son’s loss.
NSU junior Jourdan Waddell, his cousin, will accompany NSU players and coaches to the St. Mary’s School, the first event of the day beginning at 8:30 Thursday morning. She took part in Waddell Day as a freshman two years ago.
The football team members will pass along positive messages and encouragement, reflecting the impact that Waddell had on teammates and others on campus during his all-too-short time at NSU in 2003-04.
Waddell was a highly-respected redshirt freshman offensive lineman from New Orleans-Holy Cross High School who passed away suddenly March 1, 2004, the day before he was to have begun his first spring practice with the Demons. He was an invited walk-on who practiced and worked out with the varsity team as a true freshman in preseason and during the 2003 season. An unselfish, hard-working teammate and a serious student, Waddell conducted himself in a way that reflected positively on his teammates and his family.
The 2004 Demons won the Southland Conference championship.
The annual “Chris Waddell Day” began exactly a year after he passed away, March 1, 2005, with a series of activities at schools and community centers involving the Demons with area children.
Along with the visit to St. Mary’s School, NSU players and coaches will interact with children at Weaver Elementary (9 a.m., 3:30 p.m.), NSU Elementary Lab (1 p.m.), L.P. Vaughn Elementary (1:30) and the NSU Middle Lab School (2:15).
Waddell is also remembered with a logo featuring his jersey number and name on the field at NSU’s Turpin Stadium, and with a scholarship in his name awarded each year to a walk-on player.