Melvin Spears Jr., Offensive Coordinator of the Alabama State University Hornets for the past year and former head coach of the Grambling State Tigers, has been named the 17th head football coach of The Alcorn State University Braves. Spears has compiled a head coaching record of 20-14-0 (.588) in three seasons as a head coach, having previously served as an assistant head coach at Grambling, Morgan State University (MEAC) and Casa Grande (AZ) High School.
Spears will be introduced at a 2 p.m. CST Press Conference and Meet and Greet on Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the Winchester Room in the Marriott Downtown Jackson, Mississippi.
“We are pleased and excited to announce that Melvin Spears, Jr. is the new head football coach at Alcorn State University,” Dr. Norris Edney said. “When we set out on this search, we noted that we were seeking a coach who has a proven record of championship success and achievement. Coach Spears brings that proven record of accomplishment and success to our program. The hiring of Coach Spears signifies a new era of Braves football and affirms our commitment to provide our student-athletes and fans with a leader who will continue our commitment to excellence across the board.”
Spears succeeds Earnest Collins, who resigned to accept another opportunity on Dec. 30, 2010, after two seasons as head coach at The Reservation with an 8-12 (.666) record, including a 5-6 mark in 2010.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Coach Melvin Spears, Jr. back home to Alcorn State University,” said Dr. Christopher Brown, President of Alcorn State University. “We are confident that Coach Spear’s proven record as a head coach and his commitment to the success of our student athletes, on and off the field, combined with administrative support and the passion of tens of thousands of Braves fans across the nation will lead to many years of success at the championship level.”
“I’d also like to commend our Search Committee Members and Dr. Norris Edney, for the way he conducted this search, and for its ultimate outcome. From the beginning, Dr. Edney has acted with appropriate patience, integrity and respect for the individuals and organizations involved. Our announcement today underscores the quality of the process he followed and his dedication to finding the right coach for this university.”
A well-respected, veteran head coach who has achieved resounding success on the college level with four programs, Spears has earned a reputation as an outstanding tactician, leader, organizer and motivator. Those qualities have sparked impressive achievement at every stop of his career. His teams have repeatedly exhibited character, finesse, determination and resilience, often overcoming adversity to achieve victory. An excellent recruiter, Spears, helped the Bama State Hornets generate enough offense to win the SWAC East Division title this past season before falling to Texas Southern in the SWAC Championship. Spear’s consistent approach and disciplined leadership are a proven recipe for success.
During three seasons at the helm of the Grambling State Tigers, Spear’s teams offensive superiority on the gridiron. Taking over a team that finished 6-5 in 2004, Spears 2005 G-men exploded onto the national scene guiding the Tigers to their 21st SWAC title in school history, the team’s first undefeated SWAC mark (9-0) since 1989. Averaging 44.1 points per game, the team finished with an 11-1 overall record and a Sheridan Broadcasting Network co-national championship. For his accomplishments that season, Spears was named SWAC Coach-of-the-Year and Division IAA Southwest All-Region Coach-of-the-Year by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette.
Prior to his appointment as GSU’s interim head coach in 2004, Spears served as the Tigers’ assistant head coach and offensive coordinator from 1998 to 2003 under former head coach and Grambling State legend Doug Williams. As an assistant on the staff, Spears was instrumental in the Tigers’ three consecutive National Black College and SWAC championship title runs from 2000 to 2002.
The highlight of Spears’ tenure as offensive coordinator occurred in 2002, when the Tigers broke 14 Grambling State single-season records and led the nation in both passing offense and scoring offense. As a direct result from his efforts that season, Spears was named the 2002 Division I-AA Offensive Coordinator of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine.
A native of Clinton, La., Spears is a 1983 graduate of Alcorn State University where he earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science and applied mathematics. He earned a master of education degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University in 1997. Born January 16, 1960, Spears is the proud father of four children, Sean, Seana, Kulmoris and Jerome.
A standout quarterback and wide receiver during his playing days at Alcorn State under legendary head coach Marino Casem, Spears was officially inducted into the Alcorn State University Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Before returning to athletics, Spears was a software programmer and software engineer for Honeywell and Motorola. Spears got his start in coaching in 1992 as the assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator at Casa Grande Union High School in Casa Grande, Ariz. After a successful stint at Case Grande, Spears moved to the collegiate ranks accepting a position as the assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator at Morgan State University in 1995. During his tenure at Morgan State, he helped to develop one of the most dominant defenses among the NCAA Division I-AA ranks and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Year by Year with Melvin Spears
As A Head Coach
Year Team Record
2004 Grambling 6-5 (.545)
2005 Grambling 11-1 (.917)
2006 Grambling 3-8 (.375)
Total 20-14-0 (.588)
QUOTES ON MELVIN SPEARS, JR.:
Nate Hughes, President of the Alcorn State University “A” Club
“I want to congratulate Dr. Edney and Dr. Brown for doing such a great job in the search for the next head football coach at Alcorn. From the beginning, they pursued this goal with integrity, determination, and with the very best interests of the University as their top priority. Coach Melvin Spears is a talented professional with an extraordinary record. We are particularly impressed by his emphasis on the academic success of student-athletes in his collegiate programs and his expert knowledge of the game. Alcorn football has a rich history and tradition, and we look forward to great seasons ahead for the Braves and our fans around the world.”
Jr. Isaac Williams, Offensive Lineman
“I am very excited. We have been through a period of uncertainty the last few weeks and we finally have some stability. Dr. Edney said all along he was going to find us a proven coach with winning record and he has done that with Coach Spears. I feel like he is the right man for the job and he will be good in getting us back on track. He has a great knowledge of the game of football, plus he won a National Black College Championship at Grambling. I think he is a good fit for us here at Alcorn.”
Jr. Herve Tonye-Tonye, Linebacker
“I’m really excited. We played against his offense last year. He is a real down to business guy and he knows what he wants. He’s a players’ coach and can get the very best out of his players and he works real hard. We had a lot of trust that Dr. Brown and Dr. Edney would bring us the best coach possible and you can’t ask for anyone better than Coach Spears, who comes from Alcorn and brings a national black championship to the table. We are all excited.”
So. Brandon Bridge, Quarterback
“I’m very excited. All of the guys are very glad to have Coach Spears coming to Alcorn. He has won a lot of football games and he won a national black championship. That makes it even more exciting for us. We have a lot of guys coming back on offense and I think we have an excellent chance to make a run at it, especially with Coach Spears.”