He inherits a program that is awaiting word from the NCAA on punishment for recruiting violations and has already been weakened by self-imposed restrictions.
Meanwhile, the coach who brought these problems to Newman, Jaime Green, is settling in as the new assistant women's coach at Missouri Southern State University.
Spence replaces Jaime Green at Newman, after Green resigned earlier this month after two seasons to take an assistant coach position at Missouri Southern. Green led the Jets to their first NCAA Tournament berth and a Heartland Conference title this season, but her tenure was also marked by an infraction reported to the NCAA where Green asked a player to pay for two Division I transfers’ parking fines at their schools because, the player said, Green paying for the fines would be a violation of NCAA rules.
Green admitted to the violation and served a one-game suspension in December. The program also self-imposed a penalty of a loss of two book scholarships and a reduction to eight recruiting visits.
Two of Green’s players, Alex Adekunle and Kellindra Zackery, were arrested last December on drug charges – five counts each of unlawful cultivation or distribution of a controlled substance.
“Maybe there were some issues we’ve got to address,” Spence said. “We want to have a complete program, one that the community can relate to and people can identify with."