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Former Football: Players, friends mourn Richard

Northside High School loses inspirational school leader


A closer look


Marcell Richard


  • Hometown: Houston


  • High school: Smiley High in Houston


  • College: Kilgore Junior College and UL.


  • Coaching career: Holy Rosary (1992-93), Plaisance Middle (1993-94), Northwest (1994-03), Paul Breaux (2003-04), N.P. Moss (2004-05), Northside (2005-08).
  • Monday should have been a day of celebration for the Northside High girls track and field team, coming off Saturday’s state championship at the state indoors meet in Baton Rouge.

    Instead, it was a day of mourning when all the Vikings’ athletes, students and faculty learned of the death of girls head basketball and girls assistant track coach Marcell Richard.


    On Friday, Richard made his first appearance at Northside High since being admitted to the hospital on Feb. 5 for the boys basketball game.

    Richard told the Vikings’ athletic family that he was expected to return soon. The reunion would never be. Richard, who had diabetes and struggled with pneumonia and congestive heart failure during his hospital stay, died two days later.

    "We’re all still in disbelief,” NHS girls track coach Tawanna Williams said. "It was just a confusing day. We should have been celebrating our state championship, but everyone was too sad for that. When he came to the basketball game, he said he would be back Thursday. We kind of took it for granted that he’d be back. All day long, we just couldn’t believe that he’s really gone.”

    For sophomore Shanelle Zenon, it was a matter of someone having to fill Richard’s shoes.

    "When we were working really hard or we got down, he was the one who picked us up,” Zenon said. "We had to help each other today to keep from getting too low. He wouldn’t have wanted us to be down all day. He always wanted us to win state.”

    In fact, Northside principal Carlton Handy said he had to talk Richard out of trying to make the trip to Baton Rouge for Saturday’s meet.

    "I told him that the bus ride would just be too tough on him,” Handy said. "I told him that we would text him with what happened. He really loved those girls. He hated not being there.

    "I’m still shaken up. He and I talked every day. He came to my office Friday and said that he’d be back on March 3 after a doctor’s visit on the 29th. He had come by the school to check on his grades.”

    Richard, who earned a letter on the UL football team in 1976, has been involved in high school athletics in the Acadiana area since 1992. He began as a basketball coach at Holy Rosary in Lafayette that year, before moving to Plaisance Middle and then to Northwest High from 1994-2003.

    As a basketball coach, Richard finished with a 134-78 with his best season leading Holy Rosary’s boys to the state quarterfinals in 1992.

    "He was just a fine man to be around,” Northwest High boys basketball coach and athletic director Donald Dupree said. "He was one of those coaches who always was willing to go the extra mile for the kids. He was the first one here in the morning and the last one to leave.”

    It was at junior high stints at Paul Breaux and N.P. Moss from 2003-05 that Richard’s dedication caught Handy’s eye.

    "He would leave Paul Breaux and come to Northside to drive the bus for the football or basketball or baseball teams,” he said. "He just loved to help out and do what he could to help the kids.”

    In addition to coach and bus driving duties, Richard was also known for cooking with barbecue being his specialty.

    "I’m always going to remember him for his personality, all the funny things he would say to pick us up and how good he could cook,” Zenon said.

    Daily Advertiser  February 26, 2008

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Marcell T. Richard

    LAFAYETTE – Funeral services will be held Saturday, Mar. 1, 2008 at 1 p.m. at St. Anthony Catholic Church, for Marcell T. Richard, 53, who was called to his Heavenly home on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008, at 5:23 a.m. at his residence.

    Services will be conducted by The Rev. Michael Sucharski, SVD.

    Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery.

    Marcell T. Richard was born June 10, 1954 to the late Anna Mae Richard and Warren Richard, Jr. He was united in Holy Matrimony to Elizabeth "Tut" Gallien Richard and to this union two children were born.

    During his lifetime, Marcell touched the lives of many people. He was a truck driver for SAIA, Inc. for 13 years, where he encountered many friends. He then returned to school, obtaining certification in the field of education where he found a passion and love for all children. He began volunteering at the Holy Family Catholic School in Lafayette and initiated a track program. Moving forward, he coached boys’ basketball at Holy Rosary Institute before the school’s closure. He continued his tenure in the St. Landry Parish School System at Plaisance Elementary and Northwest High School for 13 years. While at Northwest High he coached girls’ basketball and track, assisted in boys’ basketball, cross country and football with many successes and awards.

    After leaving St. Landry Parish, he returned to Lafayette Parish to fulfill his lifelong dream – to educate the youth. Marcell coached boys’ football, girls’ basketball and track at Northside High School. He also coached summer track for many years and was able to bring home several championships. His love for all children that he worked with will never be forgotten. To the coaches, teachers, students and families, thanks for allowing Marcell to be a part of your lives. He loved you all!

    He leaves to mourn and cherish his memory his beloved wife of 29 years, Elizabeth "Tut" Richard, of Lafayette; two daughters, Temisha Richard, of Lafayette, and Tiffany Richard, of St. Francisville; one granddaughter, Jamacia Smith; four sisters, Rita Lacey, Dorothy Loud (Calvin), of Houston, Lean Sheppard. of Atlanta, and Cheryl A. Magee Bentley,. of New Orleans; one brother, John Richard, of Houston; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, Anna Mae and Warren Richard, Jr.; one sister, Charlotte Richard; two brothers, Leroy and Floyd Richard and his grandparents, Jack and Irika Bradford.

    Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday and will continue Saturday from 7 a.m. until time of services.

    View the obituary and sign the guest book online at www.syriefh.com

    Final arrangements have been entrusted to Syrie Funeral Home, Inc. of Lafayette, LA.

    Published on February 29, 2008.

    Athletic Network Footnote: Marcell Richard’s profile is posted in the Athletic Network.