Alcorn State has hired Melvin Spears as its football coach.

The 50-year-old Spears was the offensive coordinator at Alabama State last season. He replaces Earnest Collins, who left after two seasons to become the coach at Northern Colorado.

Spears was selected over two other finalists — Fred McNair, the brother of the late Steve McNair, and Dwayne White. All three candidates are former Alcorn players.

Spears is a veteran coach, but he's best known for a stormy three-year tenure at Grambling from 2004 to '06, where his outspoken personality led to several controversial incidents.

He won a SWAC title in his second season at Grambling in 2005, but was fired after finishing 3-8 the next season.