Monday, February 12, 2007
Former Grambling coach sues over firing
Former Grambling State head football coach Melvin Spears wants the rest of his money.
Spears, fired two months ago after a 3-8 campaign at GSU, had signed a five-year contract that ran through the 2009 season.
A new lawsuit, filed in Baton Rouge against the university by attorney Wade Shows, claims that 2005 agreement stipuates that Spears is due the balance of his contract if his termination was for anything other than cause.
Spears has consistently claimed that he was never given a reason for being let go.
Reached just moments after he was fired on Dec. 18, Spears said he was given no explanation for his firing -- only that it was "an at-will termination." The lawsuit says a subsequent letter confirming Spears' firing also did not include a reason.
Spears was to receive $156,000 annually through '09, according to Shows' court filings.
Grambling athletics director Troy Mathieu, who had yet not seen the lawsuit, said: "We have no comment at this time."
Spears first came to Grambling as offensive coordinator for former coach Doug Williams, serving from 1998-2003. He then went 6-5 over an injury-plagued interim season, after Williams departed for an NFL job.
The return of record-smashing quarterback Bruce Eugene helped Spears to an 11-1 run and the Southwestern Athletic Championship in 2005. Eugene's subsequent graduation, however, sent Spears' team to another losing record.
Grambling had only been held to three or fewer wins on a trio of occasions in the past 50 seasons.
Spears final campaign was also marked by the opening of an NCAA investigation in January 2006 and then a second internal probe into the drug testing of selected members of the football team that November.
The NCAA investigation, apparently focusing on the use of ineligible transfers, continues.
Grambling announced the results of the drug-testing probe on Thursday, saying the results were invalid. The school has since instituted new measures for testing student-athletes.
The day that Spears was fired, school president Horace Judson issued a prepared statement that said: "It is time to change the direction of Grambling's football program. ... This was a difficult decision, but I believe it is in the best interests of the university and the football program."
Posted by da rattler at 8:10 PM