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Posted on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Ann Arbor superintendent: Football brawl violated friendship, healthy rivalry between high schools

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Green released a statement Monday night calling Friday's fight between Huron and Pioneer high schools "upsetting and regretful."

Patricia Green.JPG

Patricia Green

District officials have stated they are investigating the brawl that started among coaches and some students following Pioneer's win. One student was injured.

Both Pioneer head coach Paul Test and Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve were suspended by the Michigan High School Athletic Association Monday afternoon. District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said the district could choose to take further disciplinary action against the coaches and those decisions would be made within the next 24 hours. But that information, if action is taken, will not be released to the public because of district policy, she told

Green said Friday's brawl "violated" the pride the Ann Arbor community felt in the "long history of friendship and healthy rivalry" between the two high schools.

Read the complete text of Green's message below.

Dear AAPS Families and Staff and the Ann Arbor Community,

The incident that occurred at the end of the Huron vs. Pioneer football game last Friday night was both upsetting and regretful. The pride this community has in the long history of friendship and healthy rivalry between our high schools was violated. The Huron and Pioneer communities have felt the ramifications of the actions started by a few adults and followed by some students.

A full investigation is in process and the Athletic Directors, Principals at the schools and the Administration continue to look into the incident and upon completion of the investigation, appropriate action will be taken.

Concurrently, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), and the Ann Arbor Police Department are also conducting investigations.

Many of the student-athletes on the field Friday night choose not to follow the lead set by the adults and remained out of the altercation. They demonstrated maturity and leadership.

As we continue to investigate the incident, we ask your patience as we work together to re-build the community spirit, collegiality and sportsmanship between these two schools.


Dr. Patricia P. Green Superintendent

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

In any free, functional society, competition is a vital aspect. Successful competition, including elections, auditions, and getting graded in exams and classwork, requires clear RULES that everyone knows of beforehand, and adheres to throughout the process. That's part of why both music and sports are ideal laboratories for students to learn these rules and skills -. and it applies to the student participants as well as the teachers and coaches, all of whom should be setting a model example. Obviously, the rules of each sport must be clearly articulated, and taught to every participant in that sport, both faculty and students. Participation in school sports is not only to build skills, get a good bod and be popular, it is perhaps more importantly part of an education in character and discipline. How can the best lesson be extracted from this horrible event, so uncharacteristic of our schools and the participants? How can the wider body of students and faculty learn from event so as to limit the likelihood of such behaviors to recur? Consequences! - These might include some fires and new hires, requiring well monitored group talk sessions addressing the problems in what happened, restrictions on those who were party to the aggression from future participation for a period until certain ideals are met, such as group and individual statements from players and coaches that will be aired publicly as to what will happen differently in the future, with personal pledges, to be held before some kind of external body (chosen from leaders in the field from outside the school district, or perhaps the county), called together to sit as a kind of sports commission. Is each sporting event captured on "film" from beginning to end, i.e. digitally recorded so that each moment of play be slo-moed in replay? That would be the black box that would help identify the source of problems.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Can anyone tell me why Gildersleeve is still a coach. He has been fired from almost every school. Failure on AAPS hiring process. Oh wait, Gildersleeve is also a sheriff so would not be surprised if a slap on the hand is all he gets.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

On Friday morning I played music for the orchestra students at Huron and for their director Tim Krohn, and I met the most organized, well mannered and respectful high school students one could dream to play for. They listened quietly and appreciatively, and at the end asked interesting, thoughtful questions. Perhaps more kids across the board should be studying and playing music, from early in life. It would certainly teach civility, if not a whole lot of other coping skills!


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

I wasn't at the game, and don't know the ins and outs of what happened. I'm gathering from comments that adults may have been the role models? Coaches? and the players followed suit? The last time I was at school orchestra, solo and ensemble competitions, and choral competitions, schools treated each other with respect and each did its best to play or sing in stellar fashion. Everyone felt like an ambassador for her/her school. That's a good role model for sports players and parents. It can't be taught all at once after all the bad manners have become habitual. Learning to be good sportsmen and women needs to start in early childhood, and continue without fail, through to adulthood. Imagine the impact that would have on society!


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

That would be "regrettable," not "regretful," Dr. Green. YOU may be "regretful," but the INCIDENT was "regrettable." What a school system.

Dale R. Leslie

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

And we don't need a police presense in the AAPS three large high schools? A police officer told me that the officers stationed in the schools are trained to anticipate, through student contact, the type of melee that developed last Friday night. We "Tossed the Baby Out With the Bath Water" by letting that effective and comprehensive security program go down the drain. Dale R. Leslie, Candidate for the AAPS School Board.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

From "Pokerface:" ..and yet, they still didn't anticipate...hmmm.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

It's just pathetic you say a brawl was inevitable. If that's the case, stop the games. Don't hire staff for fights that are essentially scheduled fights, per you. Too ridiculous. Maybe the trick will be to hire different coaches and lots of issues get resolved. It's a thought. No, I don't want police presence on high school domains. Yuck. Principals and other staff should be taking care of kids before anything gets that far.

Poker Face

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

It has been a long-standing practice to have a security meeting among the administrators from each school, the police liaison officers, and other school security before any rivalry game. Such meeting occur all across the country. During such a meeting, a whole range of contingencies, including a plan for a pre-game discussion with the referees and head coaches, should be planned for. Unfortunately, our schools have neither school liaison officers, security staff, nor, apparently, principals in place. Considering the long history of dangerous fights during and after games involving Pioneer and Huron, and considering the apparent vacuum of leadership, the brawl last Friday should have been completely predictable.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

There were four officers at the game. How would you rate their "anticipation"?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

I wonder how many people that are actually blogging about the brawl have children in either program or are affected directly from this incident. Don't throw stones if you live in a glass house, it is easy to judge from your seat afar. With that said, I do have children in the program and/or that are directly affected, and personally I feel the season should be over for both teams, and Huron's coach should be fired.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Nothing wrong with being a Pioneer supporter unless it taints your reality. I'm a River Rat Dad. My kids are now well beyond high school. But my question stands. Why call to fire the Huron coach given our limited information? The "instigator", given our limited information, may have been the Pioneer assistant who allegedly threw the first punch.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

Possibly a Pioneer supporter, but then again, what's wrong with that? Also they state both seasons should be over as well sounds fair to me. Oh yeah to clarify, I am also a Pioneer supporter.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

you must be a Pioneer parent. Otherwise why finger the Huron coach for firing ? Each coach has a different version of what happened during the "handshake". Pioneers coach says he was pushed, the Huron coach says he did no pushing. The first actual punch was thrown by a Pioneer assistant coach according to the original story. Short of seeing any actual video why do you choose to believe the Pioneer coach?

Bob Heinold

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

A rather unusual use of the verb "admonish," I say. -Bob H-

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1 p.m.

We've fixed that. Thanks.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

Any actions taken by the school district in this case involving student athletes are subject to state and federal privacy laws. There are a significant number of laws on the books detailing what can and can't be released about STUDENTS. There are also laws that limit the information about employees, however those allow much less privacy in situations like this. I suspect at least 1 coach, and possibly both will be out after this, and other factors this season. I would not plan to return to work if I am coach Gildersleeve. This isn't the first issue involving this coach and some of his previous issues are legal in nature. IIRC he was suspended a full season at a previous coaching job for a DUI he recieved. I don't think AAPS should be having coaches that have proven track records of not controlling their personal behavior on the sideline. To my knowledge Coach Test has not had any other major problems, other than the accusations he runs up the score. I think he may avoid being terminated as coach. The question I have is how many student athletes are suspended for Friday's games. That could impact Pioneer making the post-season.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

chapmaja - Interesting handle, I had to look it up. There are no privacy laws when it comes to summary statistics, but AAPS deals with things as if there were. It would be perfectly fine to say that 15 students were given in school suspensions. But they won't, they never do. As to the coaches involved, if the union would defend a teacher for shooting another in the school building, expect they will defend these coaches. Both, unless they resign, will be back in the fall next year. They may not coach, but they will be back with full union backing.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

When you promote a permissive society what do expect.....


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Was she even in town during the game or was she at her home in another state?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 7:51 a.m.

Superintendent Green should Fix this Disgrace! Read the other Comment Boards and act accordingly. Otherwise yer term as Super will be limited. You have a crisis on yer hands! Put on yer Big Girls Panties and act accordingly. Dig?

Terry Star21

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

".....if action is taken, will not be released to the public because of district policy, she told". (Superintendent Green). I have no doubt that the Ann Arbor Public Schools will be complete and appropriate action taken against coaches and players will indeed be handed down. I hope the A2 police also investigate the 'public' involvement and take necessary action. Superintendent Green owes the public (A2 school taxpayers like myself, who yes, even pay her salary) a full and detailed summary of the investigation and any disciplinary action taken - despite what their 'self-made' district policy prohibits.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

I doubt the community will ever know what happened in the way of letters or other punishment Mr. Star21. With at least 1 and possibly 2 unions and their lawyers involved. The idea that any one will ever leak a word of the actual AAPS punishments (if any) to the public is unlikely. Be thankful for the robo-calls, the emails and the letter. You got all three if you have a student at one of the high schools. I suspect the Huron and Pioneer Principals spent the afternoon yesterday crafting their joint robocall.

darre james

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.

What about the players involved they should be outed as well.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Wow, tough crowd. Down-graded for asking a question?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

I have read in other articles regarding the suspensions, as well as word on the "street" or possibly the "field".


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Has the other story been amended saying students were suspended from the next game? I have not read that anywhere, or is it "word on the street"?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Fair enough for the outing, isn't this what happened or is happening? To my understanding Pioneer has suspended students from the next game as well as Huron. Still screaming go Pihi!

darre james

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

The players that were involved should be suspended for the next game as well is what I meant


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

Outed how? suspended? newspaper listing? Not sure what your looking for here....

Terry Star21

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

YES ! As should any public involvement (by A2 police).

say it plain

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

That's one regrettably poorly written statement lol... And 'healthy' doesn't seem to reflect the reality as we're seeing it in this brawl, in the pioneer 'pranks' of last year, etc. But, whatever, it is a generic 'too bad'; we'll see how things progress, but I don't expect much beyond what the MHSAA does.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1 a.m.

It has established a veritable friendship gap which will require $80K worth of consultants and a nine pound report to address.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:44 a.m.

Brad - It is Ann Arbor, you missed a zero in your price.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

LOL @ friendship gap....but don't give her any ideas ;)

Basic Bob

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Boy, Dr. Green hasn't been here very long. I don't think there is nearly so much friendship as she imagines.

Terry Star21

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

Well Bob, I think there is a lot between students. I see the parents and or other adults as the real problem in friendship. Ever wonder if we sometimes just let these student/athletes play without adult intervention - these young adults might surprise people.........just saying.....


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Some more on the brawl. How wonderful. If you want learning put the results of the investigation out in the public and make the punishment swift and severe. Sweeping it under the rug will not teach anybody any thing good. Oh by the way how soon to the next brawl article? 10 minutes. I am sure you are too busy on it to cover the cascades conference!


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

I believe the Hooterville Herald has coverage of that.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:48 a.m.

We have no plans to add the Cascades conference to our coverage area. If you're looking for news on those teams, check the Jackson page of However, we do plan to keep covering the brawl in our core community- especially when the AAPS superintendent and the MSHAA release info on it.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 4:16 a.m.

When more than 1 team from this county plays in a conference it will get more coverage! How can you say there's too much coverage and their sweeping it under the rug?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

This is pretty quick for the Superintendent. Maybe, she'll move more quickly on the Pioneer principal position. Too bad her statement didn't come out until the MHSAA spoke. Or maybe it did, but I'm doubtful.