Speers sues Grambling St. for breach-of-contract

Updated: February 10, 2007, 9:58 PM ET
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Former Grambling State head football coach Melvin Speers Jr. has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the university.

The lawsuit claims that Grambling owes Speers, who was fired after last season, for the final three years of his five-year contract.

The lawsuit was filed this past week in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.

Speers' attorney, Wade Shows of Baton Rouge, said Grambling's termination letter to his client did not list any cause that led to Spears' firing.

If the termination was for anything other than cause, the university must pay the balance of the contract in monthly payments or in a lump sum payment, Shows said.

The lawsuit says that on Feb. 25, 2005, Spears and Grambling signed a contract through 2009, with Spears to receive $156,000 annually.

The lawsuit also says Spears is owed $13,000 a month from the time he was fired Dec. 18, 2006 until Dec. 31, 2009. Spears demanded payment from Grambling on Feb. 2.

At the time of Spears' firing, university President Dr. Horace A. Judson said in a news release that it was time for the football team to change directions.

"I appreciate the hard work coach Spears put in as head football coach," the news release says. "This was a difficult decision, but I believe it is in the best interests of the university and the football program."

Spears was named interim head coach in 2004 after former head coach Doug Williams left the school for a front office job with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Spears kept the interim title until signing the contract he is now suing to enforce.

In 2004, Grambling's football team went 6-5. In 2005, the team went 11-1 and won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship. Last year, The Tigers' record dropped to 3-8, the worst record since 1997.

Spears' teams won two of three meeting with rival Southern University in the Bayou Classic.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press