Speers sues Grambling St. for breach-of-contract

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

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

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.