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Spears put on administrative leave

LORMAN — Alcorn State head football coach Melvin Spears’ future with the school is uncertain after Spears was placed on administrative leave Monday.

ASU spokesperson Clara Stamps confirmed Monday evening that Spears was placed on leave with pay by the school.

Stamps said four assistant coaches would not return, but would not specify which coaches were fired.

The Clarion-Ledger reported Monday that three assistant coaches, Bruce Eugene, quarterback coach; Darius Matthews, running back coach; and Michael Roach, defensive coordinator, were fired.

Spears could not be reached for comment.

Spears went 2-8 in his first season of coaching the Braves, including a 51-7 loss to rival Jackson State in the Capital City Classic Nov. 19. Spears drew heavy criticism after sophomore quarterback Brandon Bridge was dismissed from the team, despite Bridge putting up excellent numbers as a freshman in 2010.

Attendance numbers were low — approximately 500, according to school reports — at Alcorn’s final home game against Prairie View A&M Nov. 12. School president M. Christopher Brown said in mid-November that personnel and salary cuts would be coming to athletic positions due to losses in revenue.

Spears is also subject to an investigation surrounding an alleged incident between himself and Chris Perkins Sr., the father of wide receiver Chris Perkins Jr., that, according to Perkins Sr., happened Aug. 31 on campus.

According to a letter obtained by The Natchez Democrat, Perkins Sr. reported to Dr. Hank Bonds, the commissioner of higher education in Mississippi, that Perkins Sr. got into a verbal altercation with Spears after an appeal hearing regarding his son.

The letter says that Perkins Jr.’s athletic scholarship was reduced from 100 percent to 50 percent, which Perkins Sr. appealed and managed to get restored to 100 percent. Following the appeal process, the letter alleges that Spears yelled obscenities at Perkins Sr. outside the school’s financial aid office and told Perkins Sr. he “didn’t know who he was (dealing) with” and that Spears told Perkins Sr. he would “(mess) him up.”

Perkins Sr. said in the letter that both his son and daughter were present at the alleged incident. Perkins Sr. also alleges that Spears tried to charge at him, only to be restrained by his assistants, and that Spears told his son he was a “sorry (human being) who wasn’t (worth anything).”

According to The Clarion-Ledger’s report, Spears denied the incident as Perkins Sr. reported it. Stamps said a final decision on whether Spears would be retained would come after New Year’s.