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Indy Steelers hope to name field after ‘Coach Nell,’ ‘a life-changer’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis youth football team is working to keep its former coach’s legacy alive.

Two months ago, Indy Steelers‘ Richard “Coach Nell” Hamilton died after being fatally shot in January from a passing vehicle on I-65 in Greenwood. Police are still investigating, but his son said his life is worth honoring.

The 43-year-old Hamilton had known about the improvements coming to a soon-to-be-revamped Tarkington Park. For more than a decade, the field was home base. Days before Hamilton died, he’d gotten the news: A Lilly Endowment grant was going to fund renovations to the park off North Meridian Street just north of 38th Street.

Now, his team is helping circulate a petition to get his name added to the multipurpose field as a lasting gift for a man who helped shape hundreds of youths of the Butler-Tarkington community into players.

Hamilton’s son, Dontaye Hamilton, is in charge of the effort. “I played with the Steelers. I started when I was 6 years old, and I see how many of my friends lives it changed.”

“The Steelers were more than just football.”

“My dad was a life-changer to a lot of kids who didn’t have that role model in their lives or that extra push.”

The team Dontaye’s father coached is still welcoming new players.

The Indy Steelers and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center have rolled out a petition to name the future field at Tarkington Park as the Richard “Coach Nell.”

Hamilton’s wife, Tiffany Hamilton, said about her husband, “It’s something that he is definitely deserving of. (He) really put in a lot of hours on that field, and just making sure the kids have a safe place to go.”

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