- May 6, 2020
The Central Florida Christian Academy football community is coping with losing one of its own.
Assistant football coach Alain Noel died suddenly Wednesday, July 20. He was only 48 years old.
“It’s true what they say,” head football coach Jeremy Campbell said. “You are here one day and gone the next. So that’s the hardest part— you never know when it’s going to happen.”
According to Campbell, Noel suffered a heart attack while he was alone in his house. His significant other, Roasne Williams, was at work at the time.
“It wasn’t until Thursday morning when I got the phone call,” Campbell said. “From that point, you confirm the story and then, with Alain being such an intricate part of our team and this community, I immediately got on the phone and started talking to my staff and trying to get a hold of parents.”
Because of the close relationship Noel held with the players, Campbell wanted to tell them himself and not wait until they heard the news someplace else.
“I wanted to make sure that they kind of heard my voice when they heard some of the most devastating news they’ve heard in their lifetime,” he said. “I wanted them to hear it from me and not someone on the streets, because, you know, sometimes the information can be misconstrued.”
Born June 23, 1974, in Miami, Noel became involved with the sport of football at a young age. The passion he developed for the sport fueled his love of coaching.
“He loved the Xs and Os, but what he loved the most was seeing when the light clicked on for these kids,” Campbell said. “Alain was the father figure that a lot of (these players) never had. … So just seeing his kids grow up and become who they are … (and) seeing the transformation in those kids, really gave Alain meaning.”
Anthony Middleton, 16, is one of the players who not only saw Noel as a coach but also as a father figure.
“He was a father, because my dad died, (and) he was able to step in and help me because he knew my mom needed help,” he said. “He impacted my life strongly. He kept pushing me when I didn’t want to play sports anymore, and other things like helping my mama and my family.”
Noel was everything good and possessed myriad characteristics that drew people to him.
“Alain was energetic, he was humble, enthusiastic, he was a leader — people followed him,” Campbell said. “He was very honest and blunt, which was great in our profession, but he also hurt some feelings, because he was that way. There’s so many different things that he did, and words can’t describe him.”
Marcus McCrimmon, 18, had trained with Noel since he played in little league.
“He was funny and a loving person,” he said. “He was always cool around us, always (had) good vibes. … He made me smarter, he taught me stuff I didn’t even know about. He taught me to (not) do anything dumb, to stay out of the streets, to stay in football.”
Campbell said the relationship he shared with Noel was deeper than a coaching partnership.
“Alain and I were really close,” he said. “We bantered with one another, we joked around, and we hung out and did several things together.”
One of Campbell’s favorite memories with Noel was driving to the away games together, along with Campbell’s dad, Mark.
“The conversations that we had in the car, looking back, you’d think they were meaningless and trivial conversations,” Campbell said. “But in those conversations, Alain always spoke truth on whatever the situation was. He never told a lie, he was always 100% in. We would laugh, we would cry, we would talk spiritual things, we would talk about life, we would joke. We did everything.
“This season, I’m thankful that we are opening up at home,” Campbell said. “Our first away game is going to hit different.”
Noel loved spending time at home with his family. His favorite NFL team was the New England Patriots.
“Everything was New England (for him),” Campbell said. “We would make jokes about New England just to get him riled up.”
The Eagles had another loss earlier this year — former player Zach Taggart. The team will dedicate this upcoming season to both Taggart and Noel.
“This year has been tough when it comes to that side of things,” Campbell said. “But those things that don’t kill you make you stronger, and we are here today to compete and play in honor of those two and for those that we have lost.”
When the season begins Friday, Aug. 19, the football family will have decals on their helmets to honor Noel and Taggart during the game against Northside Christian School.