• 41°

Local Alcorn fans’ reactions to hiring of Melvin Spears positive

NATCHEZ — Alcorn State football fans in Natchez say they are excited to begin a new era of Braves football.

Henry Houze, president of the Natchez Chapter of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association, said he’s glad Spears was selected as the new coach.

“He’s a product of our university and has tremendous experience, being out of school for 28 years,” Houze said.

“He was a SWAC title and black college national championship (when he coached at Grambling State). He’s a proven winner.”

Spears comes to Alcorn after serving as offensive coordinator at Alabama State for the past two seasons. Houze said Spears’ years of experience in the SWAC will play to his advantage at Alcorn, especially in recruiting athletes to play for the Braves.

“It’s important to have someone who has been there before,” Houze said. “He’s won in the SWAC and knows the SWAC. Winning at Grambling and Alabama State, he knows the landscape.

“If we had hired someone who didn’t know the landscape, he would have had to learn it first.”

Local Alcorn fan Angela Hutchins said Spears’ experience as a former player will also give him an advantage in already knowing how things are done at Alcorn.

“He should know a little about how the school operates,” Hutchins said. “Maybe he can bring a change to the football program, knowing how things were going at the time (he played), and maybe make a change from how it is today.”

Francis Bailey, another local fan, said she’s not too familiar with Spears, but she’s glad the school hired a former Alcorn player to be the next coach.

“Any time you can get an Alcornite back to their stomping grounds, it’s a good thing,” Bailey said.

Natchez High School football coach Lance Reed has had Alcorn recruit and sign athletes of his in the past. He said the most important part of the job for a college coach is to make sure the athletes are taken care of on and off the field.

“I think the most important thing is whether the coach is looking for the overall well-being of the player, as a student, as well as a young man,” Reed said.

“The college years are crucial years for them to develop into young men, and it’s important to have a program that prepares them for life as well as on the football field.”

J.R. McPhate, a Jefferson County resident that has followed the Braves since Steve McNair’s days, said continuity is the biggest key for Alcorn going forward.

“(Spears) didn’t do too badly when he was the head man at Grambling,” McPhate said. “It won’t matter who Alcorn hires unless they keep a coach for more than three years at a time.”

For Hutchins, a winning record next season would be big.

“It’s been a couple of years,” she said. “I would love to see them in the SWAC tournament. They have Air Canada (quarterback Brandon Bridge), and he’s great. I think he can be even better under Coach Spears.

“I’m there for every game, so I wish them a good season.”

COVID-19

State reports 1,948 new COVID-19 cases, 41 new deaths amid vaccine shortage

COVID-19

State experiencing surge in patients attempting COVID-19 vaccination

News

Movie filmed in Natchez hits screens Feb. 12

News

Three finalists chosen for Executive Director in Natchez tourism commission

News

Kevin Warren named publisher in Natchez, Brookhaven, Prentiss

News

Girl Scout cookie season kicks off nationally Feb. 1

News

City of Natchez nearing lease agreement for old train depot

News

Former Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick remembered a kind, loving servant

News

City of Natchez to consider financing parks and recreation improvements

ACCS sports

ACCS without starting goalkeeper

News

Photos: Work crews demolish old A&P grocery on Franklin Street; make way for Recovery Enterprises

COVID-19

State reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths

News

Photo gallery: Locals share photos of their snow day

News

CPSO deputies apprehended multiple people for drugs, weapons

BREAKING NEWS

Adams County Tax Collector dies with COVID-19

News

The Dart: Barnett loves her art

News

Photos: Sunday night snow turns downtown into winter wonderland

COVID-19

State reports 2,214 new COVID cases and 22 new COVID-related deaths

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez Adams schools, Cathedral and ACCS cancel in-person classes for Monday

News

Classes at ACCS canceled for Monday

News

Adams County has limited threat for snowfall overnight Sunday to Monday

COVID-19

Adams County sets new record for number of single-day COVID cases

News

Adams County Sheriff’s office building blessed for another year

News

Lives we have lost: Larry Woods loved helping people