Panhandle football coach suspended amid investigation into illegal recruiting issues


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PENSACOLA, Florida — A famed Florida Panhandle high school football program's 2014 season is jeopardy because of alleged recruiting violations.

Pensacola's Escambia High School has suspended coach Willie Spears. The coach and six of his players could be deemed ineligible to participate in the remainder of the season because of the alleged recruiting issues.

NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith graduated from Escambia High School. Trent Richardson of the Indianapolis Colts is also an Escambia graduate.

Escambia County Superintendent of Schools Malcom Thomas told the Pensacola News Journal ( on Tuesday that that the coach has been suspended with pay for alleged employee misconduct. Thomas said he believes the investigation will be completed quickly.

Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal,

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