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Posted on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Football brawl: Huron AD says 'Coach Gildersleeve did not push Coach Test backwards'

By Pete Cunningham


Huron High School athletic director Dottie Davis, center, in a response to the MHSAA's official referee report said then-Huron coach Cory Gildersleeve, left, did not push Pioneer coach Paul Test, right.

Daniel Brenner |

Huron High School athletic director Dottie Davis is standing by her statement that then-Huron head football coach Cory Gildersleeve did not push Pioneer coach Paul Test before the brawl that erupted after the football game between the cross-town rivals.

In a response to the MHSAA’s official referee report from the Oct. 12 game —which states that Gildersleeve did push Test — Davis gives her account of the melee and specifically details points in the referees' report that she finds to be false or misleading, including a claim that an official tried to intervene and separate the coaches.

Davis’ response to the report reads:

“Coach Gildersleeve did not push Coach Test backwards. Both were engaged and shouting at one another. I was also at midfield and heard the entire conversation. The conversation had just ended and all of a sudden, a Pioneer assistant coach jumped the back of Coach Gildersleeve. No official tried to break this conversation up.”

(Click here to download a PDF file of the part of the referee's report in question and Davis' response. Includes potentially offensive language.)

The referee’s report was included in Ann Arbor Public Schools’ investigation into the incident. obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act request and published an article about it Monday. Davis' response was not included in the district's original response to the FOIA request, but the district released it Tuesday.

The response from Davis is consistent with her statement made in the district’s incident report in which she said, “neither coach touched one another and there was no physical altercation between the head coaches.”

Davis declined to comment on the incident per a directive from district officials when reached on Monday.

The night of the on-field brawl, Test claimed Gildersleeve was “pushing” him during the postgame handshake, an assertion that's also in the referee’s report. The referee’s report also said an official intervened and attempted to separate the coaches prior to Pioneer assistant coach Vince Wortmann striking Gildersleeve, which set off a brawl that involved many players and coaches. Wortmann has since been fired.

Gildersleeve has adamantly denied pushing Test and in several emails to district officials following the brawl requested that the district make a statement on his behalf so that his “name be cleared as soon as possible.”

Gildersleeve resigned from his head coaching position on Nov. 8 and remains a physical education teacher at Huron.



Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

somebody is lying not sure why the game officials would unless they are friends of the pioneer staff. not letting go of the other coach as they shook hands and physically moving him backwards IS pushing someone. many have come out saying the kind of hot head that the huron coach is he also is obviously a poor coach from his record. Probably good that he resigned and removed himself from further embarrassing himself and the school.


Thu, Nov 22, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

I would not say that Gildersleeve is a poor coach based on his record. He actually has done some pretty solid work at Dundee and Hartland prior to coaching at Huron. At this time I think any coach would struggle to be successful at Huron. The issues in football at Huron go much much deeper than the coaching staff or even the administration. Football isn't the only sport struggling at Huron. They haven't had a JV girls softball team at Huron in years because they can't get players out. This is a school or over 1500 students that can't get enough non-seniors to have a JV team. Why is that? The feeder middle schools have plenty of players in 2 grades that should be able to move up. I've umpired schools 10% the size of huron that have JV teams. Why can a school amongst the top 100 in size statewide not field a JV team? It has to be an issue with the student population, and no coach or administration can fix that.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 4:25 a.m.

One more thing to consider. Dottie Davis made a questionable hire in the first place with Gildersleeve. He came into the job with a questionable background and a previous arrest on his record (DUI). There were plenty of people who questioned this hire when it happened, and now that this occurred maybe Dottie feels the pressure to defend her hire despite mounting statements that indicate he was at fault.

Terry Star21

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

Question Pete; You're own photographer Daniel Brenner (for that pic) must have saw something, or is he not allowed to comment (liability issues). I don't think an A2 Athletic Director would lie (laugh if you want), especially considering photos, the chance of video and now the referee's official report. I think we need to consider she may have just missed an alleged push - I mean it is entirely possible (looking away, at something else, etc.) - it must have happened so fast. Why didn't she just say, 'I did not see a push' - that's what an attorney might say !


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

Until the video is released and shows definitive proof to one of the claims, I wont take any sides, All you people jumping on the AD obviously have some type of vendetta and despise her. To say you believe an official because "he's neutral and has no bias or agenda" is just plain dumb. Nobody knows for certain who had interest in what, or who for sure pushed who. In the end It all comes down to actual hard PROOF showing the real actions, and only THEN should anyone make judgement. If the AD knowingly lied about her account, the discipline is warranted. However if the tape shows her to be telling the truth, then not only does the official deserve discipline but so does Paul Test who would know whether or not he was pushed and he should be stepping up and telling his honest account of the situation. Call me what you want, But due process is a right to anyone, as is being presumed innocent until proved otherwise. Put your pitch forks away and focus your anger on the people holding the video evidence.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

I just believe in waiting till fact is sorts from fiction before forming my opinion/decision. Perhaps the world would be a better place if more people looked at situations like this.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

funny the most reasonable post comes from the whisky man. on one of your points Test was already suspended for 2 games so he did get punished. also it is not OFFICIAL it would be officals, there are more than one officials at a high school game, you can see 2 of them standing to the right facing the pioneer side. the officials would have gotten together on the report to the mhsaa. seems only the coach who allegedly shoved the pioneer coach and his AD support his position. not sure the public needs to see the tape, as long as the mhsaa views it and punishes those who are lying I am fine with it not coming out in public.

Susie Q

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 3:33 a.m.

Maybe the video shows nothing of substance. Don't get your hopes up.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Dottie Davis is standing by her coach. what else can she say? Believe the referees. They are neutral and have no agenda or affiliation. Gildersleeve is a good person and was unfortunately caught in a bad situation. --Jim


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

And referees are never wrong in what they "see". Let's to to a booth review.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Where is Dottie Davis??Who is the person i the white jacket? Gildersleeve looks like a typical gym/teacher/coach!


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Dottie Davis is the person wearing the white jacket in the middle, appearing to grasp the hand of the man next to her.

vox rationis

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

Dottie is the person in the white jacket.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

We have totally conflicting reports by two people on the scene - they both cannot be right. Eyewitness testimony is not what it's cracked up to be, so the best piece of evidence is likely the AAPS's video. Time to cough it up, AAPS. It belongs to the public.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

I would have pushed test on his ass, so he should have gotten fired for not finishing the job,lol.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Easy to say from a PC. LOL


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

I think all persons in the picture should be identified not the right and left butALL. In the picture it looks like the guy on the right is charging the one being held back.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

I spoke with one of the officials and he said Gildersleeve definitely pushed Test. I think we need to take the word of the guys who were actually there. It's nice that Dottie Davis wants to protect her coach but I think there is some bias here. I would just be quiet and let this incident fade away...........


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

She was there the whole time as well,maybe you should re-read the articles.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Does Ms. Davis maintain that they didn't shake hands? Because she specifically says, "neither coach touched one another."


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

We still have the situation where A.D. Davis, when given the opportunity to condemn the violence after the game, chose to only say no comment. No need to assess blame or point fingers, but it would have set the proper example to the students to say that the melee and violence was unacceptable to her as the A.D. That would not have violated any policies or violated anyone's rights.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

OK, now that the police investigation seems to have confirmed some level of physical contact does that change your opinion any?

Pete Cunningham

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

Davis has declined to comment to the media per directive from the district, but to say she hasn't condemned the violence is unfair. She's responsible for recommending player and coach suspensions and community service (which she did) in internal emails expressed disappointment in the actions of players and coaches from both sides, and also has encouraged other sports teams when playing Pioneer to partake in pre-game displays of sportsmanship. Whether you think those actions are "enough", everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I would say she has certainly has condemned the violence and made it clear to all parties involved that it's not acceptable.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Davis declined to comment on the incident per a directive from district officials when reached on Monday. Seems her tongue is loose enough when it wants to be!


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

Very Simple. Review the tape. If Gildersleeve pushed Test, fire Dottie. If not, grill that official to find out why he wrote that. Someone is lying. It can't be left here, it needs to be resolved.


Wed, Nov 21, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

ChelseaBob, Here is something to consider. Everyone seems to be thinking this is the only officials report on file. If you look closely at the bottom of page 1 on this report, it seems to indicate that this is report 2 of 7. There are a couple possibilities for why this is the case. First, since there were multiple ejections from this incident, each ejection is required to have a report filed per MHSAA rules. Second, it is possible this is just one of the officials reports, and other officials also filed officials reports as well. Since a football crew at the HS level is normally 6 members, it is possible 6 officials filed officials reports. One other thing to understand. This is nor just one officials point of view. The photo clearly shows two officials, the referee and a second official breaking up the altercation. The MHSAA, in the event of a situation like this, would contact all officials invovled. An official is required to include the names of all officials invovled in the contest to the MHSAA as part of the report. They would then contact the other officials before filing the official report with the school. I also see one other thing that is concerning about Dottie Davis' comments in the report. She states that the officials never attempted to break the conversation up, however I find that very strange considering they were apparently near enough by to hear what was said (the F-word), and they were breaking up the altercation. My personal opinion, based on having dealt with this AD in the past, and from what I heard from people at the game, is that the Huron AD is attempting to save the face of her program by distorting the facts of what happened. Do I think there were issues from both sides in this? Yes, but I see no benefit in what The AD is doing at this point. She continues to defend her former coach even though the eviddence appears pretty solid that he did in fact let is emotions get in the way of proper judgement and he screwed up.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Someone is wrong, not necessarily lying.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.



Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

Davis undoubtedly has to stand by her statement in order to maintain any sort of credibility in the AAPS community. This has really turned into a "he said, she said" situation. Of course there are potentially dozens, if not hundreds, of witnesses. I wasn't particularly in favor of having the video released, but would really like to see it now or at least get an objective reporter's analysis of it. Pete...have you tried to get your hands on it? Have any spectators sent in cell-phone videos? The referee was very adamant in saying Test was pushed backward by Gildersleeve. Davis says not so. I'd be inclined to trust the referee, given that he was standing right there and is more of a neutral party in this fight.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

Thanks Pete. There is still more to this story clearly.

Pete Cunningham

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Nothing has come of attempts to obtain video from parents, fans, coaches, etc. and we haven't been able to get video that is subject to FOIA because it is evidence in many still open investigations. We are working on it, though, and pursuing other leads.