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Tarkington Park’s new pitch named after a murdered youth football coach



Indianapolis, Indiana – Tarkington Park on the city’s north side will soon have a new multipurpose field with an unusual moniker.

The Indianapolis Parks Department officially announced Monday that the new field will be named after Richard “Coach Nell” Hamilton, a youth football coach who was slain in January.

The Tarkington Park field had been home to the Indy Steelers youth football program, but Coach Nell desired something more.

“He’s been an advocate for his team from day one,” said Parks Director Phyllis Boyd.

The Steelers program is designed to keep at-risk adolescents out of trouble. Coach Nell had been pleading with the Indianapolis Parks Department for years to construct an appropriate field for his players.

Boyd was able to deliver him the good news in January thanks to $3 million from the Lilly Endowment.

“I feel lucky that I was able to give him that good news,” Boyd said.

Coach Nell was killed six days later in a road rage shooting on I-65 at County Line Road.

According to Indiana State Police, the incident occurred soon before 6:30 p.m., and detectives were seeking for a silver or gray sedan-style automobile with dark tinted windows at the time.

The crime, however, remains unresolved.

“He wanted to give our community this field, and he helped make that happen,” said Coach Nell’s widow Tiffany Hamilton.

The parks department officially named the future field after Coach Nell on Monday evening. Recognizing and consolidating the impact he had on so many children.

“He accomplished a lot,” Hamilton said. “This is his dream for our city, for everything, for our family.”

Coach Nell’s mother, Donna, said the day was difficult, but seeing everyone who came out for the ceremony made it a bit easier.

“I miss my son so much, but he went down as a legacy and I’m so proud of him,” Donna said through tears.

Even though Coach Nell is no longer with the Steelers, the program remains. One of his teammates expressed confidence that justice will be served.

“I’m just going to put it in the lord’s hands because he got all the power,” Jonah Hampton said. “So in that situation, whoever did it: your day is coming.”

Officials with Indy Parks anticipate beginning work on the new field in May 2024 and want to open the facility in May 2025.

Anyone with information regarding Coach Nell’s case is encouraged to contact CrimeStoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

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