Ross Dellenger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported earlier today that embattled Alcorn State head football coach Melvin Spears has been placed on administrative leave by the university. The report comes days after Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown told local media that several coaches would be fired due to budget constraints, partly caused by sinking revenues at home games from low attendance.
“Based on what they’re talking about, I’m being terminated for insubordination or something,” Spears said. “I felt blessed to have this great opportunity. Alcorn is my school. … We’ll move on to the next task. … I’ve had a great ride. … It’s always outstanding to come home. Bottom line, we did it the right way.”
Spears’ suspension comes three days after Alcorn president Christopher Brown told The Clarion-Ledger that the coach had a “50-50″ chance of returning for his second year with the squad. Also on Friday, Brown said that “at least three” assistants would be fired and not replaced, citing budget issues. (Clarion-Ledger)
Spears was in the first year of his tenure with Alcorn, and led the Braves to a 2-8 record this season. He also oversaw the departure of quarterback Brandon Bridge, a regularly-mentioned player in the discussion among the SWAC’s best at the position. Spears spent much of the season criticized by Alcorn alumni, who allegedly are pooling money to assist the university in buying out the coach’s contract.
Alcorn spokesperson Clara Stamps said that the decision to place Spears on leave was based upon a recommendation from the Department of Athletics to Dr. Brown, and was made effective this morning.