A sports staple in Lafayette is closing its doors following the death of its founder and head coach, Beau Williford, three months ago in July. The Ragin’ Cajun Amateur Boxing Club will shut down at the end of November.

RCABC has served members of all ages and backgrounds in the Acadiana area since 1982.

“This difficult conclusion was reached because the club cannot continue to operate after the passing of Beau,” says a press release issued to ESPN 1420 and KPEL News. “However, it is a testament to Beau’s unyielding tenacity, and the sacrifice by his loving wife Teri, that they were able to keep the doors open for almost four decades. Despite facing numerous financial hardships that often caused the club to lead a nomadic existence, Beau would operate out of his home garage, rather than turn vulnerable youths back to the streets.”

The club produced hundreds of champions over the last 37 years. Some of the clubs greatest accomplishments include: RCABC sent a team to compete in Ireland; facilitated a special visit from Muhammad Ali‘s trainer Angelo Dundee; brought the Louisiana State Golden Gloves back to Acadiana after a 20 year absence; as well as proudly hosting the Louisiana State Silver Gloves, and the Louisiana Governors Games, on a yearly basis. In 2017, after a long campaign lead by coach Williford, RCABC helped bring the prestigious National Golden Gloves to Lafayette.

“Yet, what made RCABC so special, was Beau’s gift of mentoring boys and girls, with father-like discipline and compassion, while always keeping the focus on their academics and good conduct,” says the press release.

Many of the special moments mentioned above came as a result of a major fundraiser, spearheaded by Glenn Armentor, after its location at the La Promenade Mall was destroyed by a fire in 2001. With the help of Tony Fazzio, Beldon Fox (father of Allyson Fox Pharr), Dr. Michel Heard, Brent Milam, and Adrian Vega, along with numerous sponsors, a new fully-equipped gym was opened on Macon Road in 2005.

“RCABC extends its deepest gratitude to all the members, sponsors, coaches, and volunteers who made the club such an outstanding success for 37 amazing years. Even though the gym has to shut down, Beau’s legacy lives on forever in the hundreds of past members that are working and serving in our community today. It is their success in life, more so than their accomplishments in the ring, that made coach Beau so proud.”

The Williford family, and friends, plan to host the 2020 Louisiana State Golden Gloves in Lafayette, in honor of coach Beau. It will be sponsored by the Louisiana Governors Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The proceeds will help create the “Beau Williford Scholarship” fund, befitting of coach Williford’s focus on academics and upstanding citizenship.