Live

Watch CBSN Live

Ex-Wildcat Coach Laid To Rest


Relatives of former Northwestern basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong said during his funeral Saturday they have no hate for the man who killed him last week during a racially motivated shooting rampage.

"We have no hate in our hearts," Byrdsong's father-in-law, Joe Kelly Jr., said.

Byrdsong, 43, an Atlanta native, was shot by Benjamin Nathaniel Smith on July 2 while walking with his children in northern Chicago.

Smith wounded several Jews and Asians before shooting himself July 4.

"I'm just sorry that justice wasn't done," Kelly said. "If he'd gotten life, maybe he would've been saved."

About 700 people attended Saturday's service at the Cathedral of Faith Church of God in Christ in southwest Atlanta. including former players, ministers and friends.

"In 1989, he recruited me. Coming from the inner city of Detroit, he was the kind of guy I needed," said Dwayne Kelly, who played for Byrdsong while both were at the University of Detroit, Byrdsong's last stop before Northwestern.

A star player at Atlanta's Douglass High and a graduate of Iowa State, Byrdsong was fired from Northwestern in 1997 after a 33-72 record and went on to be an executive with a Chicago insurance company.

"Now that the coach is gone, the game is not over," said the Rev. Haman Cross Jr. of Detroit's Rosedale Park Baptist Church, where the Byrdsongs worshiped before moving to Chicago.

Byrdsong's wife, Sherialyn, daughters Sabrina, 12, and Kelley, 10 and son Ricky Jr., 8, also attended the funeral.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue