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Coach did earn his master's degree

7/10/2004 - Grambling Tigers

GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling's football coach earned
the master's degree listed on his resume but failed to fill out
minor paperwork to officially receive a diploma, an official at
Northern Arizona University said.

Coach Melvin Spears was in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Friday to
complete the paperwork so his resume will match official records at
Northern Arizona, where he completed coursework for the degree in
1997, said William Wright, chair of Northern Arizona's department
of research, foundations and leadership.

Wright called the discrepancy between Spears' resume and the
school's records "just an unfortunate misunderstanding."

Spears headed to Arizona after Grambling president Horace Judson
gave him one week to clear up the discrepancy between his resume
and Northern Arizona academic records.

Spears remained in Arizona Saturday and neither he nor Judson
would comment until Spears returns to Grambling, Grambling
athletics spokesman Peter Forest said.

Spears was hired as offensive coordinator by Grambling coach
Doug Williams in 1997, then took over as interim head coach when
Williams left for the NFL in February. Spears resume includes a
master's in administrative leadership, part of which he studied for
under Wright.

Wright said two big distractions occurred for Spears soon after
finishing his coursework: his grandfather died and he got the
Grambling coaching job under Williams.

"Its not uncommon that someone would complete their degree
requirements but not follow through with the necessary paperwork,"
Wright said. "In Spears' case, a person gets a promotion, there is
illness in the family. Hes a good man -- a good moral person. This
was just a matter of paperwork."