Former FAMU coaches win appeal in contract dispute

Clemon Johnson and Earl Holmes (Photo: FAMU Athletics / File )
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News; News Service of Florida
November 27, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Two former Florida A&M University coaches are heading to court after winning an appeal in similar breach-of-contract lawsuits filed against the university.

Tim Jansen, an attorney for former FAMU basketball coach Clemon Johnson and former football coach Earl Holmes, spoke with WCTV about Tuesday's ruling.

"I’ve spoken with both coaches and they are ecstatic," Jansen said. "Now they will get their day in court and we hope to set it for trial as soon as possible."

Johnson and Holmes went to the appeals court after Leon County Circuit Judge James Shelfer, in separate rulings last year, sided with the university.

Johnson, who was fired in April 2014 after three years as the basketball coach, argued, in part, that he had a four-year guaranteed contract and that the university breached it by firing him a year early for “convenience.” But, FAMU argued in court documents that it followed university regulations in deciding not to reappoint Johnson.

Similarly, Holmes served as football coach from February 2013 to January 2015. Holmes argued that he had a guaranteed four-year contract and that his termination violated the contract.

Johnson and Holmes played at Florida A&M and later went on to pro careers in the NBA and the NFL, respectively.

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