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Posted on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

In emails, Huron coach implores district to clear his name following football brawl

By Kyle Austin


Former Huron High School football coach Cory Gildersleeve on the sidelines during Huron's game with Pioneer on October 12, 2012.

Daniel Brenner |

In the days following the on-field brawl between the Huron and Pioneer football teams, then-Huron coach Cory Gildersleeve sent a series of emails to district administrators, team members and Huron colleagues expressing regret for the incident while also maintaining he did not incite the brawl in an attempt to clear his name.

Gildersleeve, in the e-mails, also accuses Pioneer coach Paul Test of lying in public statements, laments his directive to not speak publicly in the days after the game, and implores district officials to release a statement saying he did not push Test.

Gildersleeve announced Nov. 8 that he was stepping down as Huron’s football coach, four weeks after the brawl and three weeks after his team finished an 0-9 season. He remains employed as a physical education teacher at Huron High School.

Gildersleeve did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday. The emails were released to in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The day after the fight, Gildersleeve sent Huron athletic director Dottie Davis a statement intended for a local television station, and accused Test of telling “lie after lie about what happened.”

“I cannot stand mute and keep getting driven into the ground like this,” Gildersleeve wrote. “It is wrong. I don’t deserve that.”

In several emails, Gildersleeve maintains that he did not have any physical altercation with Test, citing video of the incident and eyewitness testimony. He claims the brawl started when Pioneer assistant Vince Wortmann struck him in the back. Wortmann has since been fired.

That claim contradicts statements made by Test, who claimed he was pushed by Gildersleeve. The referee’s report of the game, released Monday, describes Gildersleeve pushing Test during the postgame handshake.

Gildersleeve repeatedly makes his claim that he did not push Test in the days following the event, and implores Ann Arbor Public Schools and Ann Arbor Education Association administrators -- including AAEA president Linda Carter, teacher's union vice president Fred Klein, AAPS vice president of human resources and legal services David Comsa and Huron principal Arthur Williams -- to release a statement on his behalf.

“I need some help here. I need my name cleared as soon as possible,” Gildersleeve writes.

Gildersleeve claims media reports, including those published by, cite him as the cause of the fight.

“This is absolutely false,” Gildersleeve writes. “It is a defamation of my character and it is getting worse because the district has not released any type of information from their investigation that tells the true facts of what happened on the field.”

Gildersleeve goes on to write that the reports have affected his family, including his parents, wife and children, and damaged “my reputation as a coach, professional educator and person.”

He also states plans to press charges against Wortmann, as well as file a defamation of character lawsuit against "anyone that is and/or has falsely reported this story doing me harm."

Gildersleeve also sent a letter of apology to Huron staff members and the football program, and emailed his assistant coaches a plan to meet with players, take responsibility and discuss how it could have been handled better.

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.


Pete Cunningham

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Huron AD Dottie Davis' direct response to the MHSAA official referee's report was passed along today by district officials. Here is an article with details:


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

A full read of the pdf of the Referees Report gives a pretty clear, OBJECTIVE, and eyewitness take on this avoidable incident. The conclusion is that this is an ugly chapter in Ann Arbor High School football. Both Head Coaches and coaching staffs have no one to blame but themselves, and Coach 'Sleeves continuing denials despite this report are very telling.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

based on the calls officials make during games I'm not sure I trust what they think they see after a game. Not any referee in particular, just in general....they don't always get the calls right.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

He's an idiot, glad he is no longer coaching. He can try and clear his own name. Take responsibility for your actions coach.

Pete Cunningham

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Just to clarify a question received earlier on this topic, in the days following the brawl, Pioneer coach Paul Test issued a letter of apology to the Ann Arbor Public Schools administration, teachers, students and the greater Ann Arbor Community as well.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

I love that on the side of his visor shown in the picture it reads "Pride Discipline Class".


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

I'm sorry for the young men that his incident happened. Causes me to wonder about Coach Test, allowing his players to run-up the score when they were sure to win the game. I kind of feel bad for Coach Gildersleeve. Hope he will come to the conclusion that it is something he should "put behind him." After all, it is just a teenboy game and no blood was drawn; no bones broken. Coach G's immediate reaction about suing and "clearing his name" is ill conceived. Our justice system should not be subjected to a "he said, he said" charade. After all, it's just some cussing and shoving at a teenboy football game. Perhaps Coach G. can find a lawyer willing to prosecute his "case" on a contingent basis, but I doubt it. If Coach G. wants to dig into his savings and pay a lawyer $250 an hour, with big up-front "retainer," then go at it dude! That being said, there are those of us who love you Cory. Be cool. This too shall pass . . .

Deborah Gibson

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 4:31 a.m.

The truth in this conflict will remain unknown since there is no arena of justice for HS athletic coaches who brawl.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.

You don't suppose Gildersleeve is one of the others, do you?


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

Coach test needs to go to been way to long at what he does of running up scores and horrible sportsmanship.The man condones locker room fights AND THIS I KNOW TO BE TRUE. He says it shows him his players care!!!! I am only surprised that no one has gotten in his but before after a game for humiliating teams.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Somebody spent more time in the locker room than English class!


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

"Coach test needs to go to been way to long at what he does ..." Say again?

An Arborigine

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Ever heard of personal responsibility for your actions? Accept it and move away to clear your name and Ann Arbor of your type of "role model". This Gym teacher should resign before being fired.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

Gildersleeve is in this position because he lacks all three things on his hat. Pride, discipline and class!!! What a joke.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Kind of ironic, isn't it? This whole thing could have been avoided if Gildersleeve had the class and discipline to lose gracefully. Then if folks wanted to blame Test for continuing to play, the game would have been remembered for Pioneer being classless. Instead, we have a Huron coach and AD making what appears to be dishonest statements about what transpired. My kids go to the other school in AA, so I was originally neutral in this. But I've lost a lot of respect for Huron.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

Gildersleeve plans to press charges!! This action alone does more to damage his reputation. Both Test and a referee say he pushed first. Even if he didn't as he claims, his behavior at the sidelines required restraint from the referees. Gildersleeve became completely unglued because Pioneer was continuing to play the game. The score was far from a blowout...I imagine he was expressing his frustration over the entire (losing) season. Gildersleeve is far from blameless...he has defamed himself and there is nothing AAPS can do about it.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

So why doesn't someone in a leadership position in the city demand release of this video? Mayor?? AAPS Super??


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

It is not the obligation of the Mayor or AAPS Superintendent to entertain people who are excited by the prospect of seeing this video. I am sure it will be released at some point, but people will just have to get by with professional wrestling until then.

Susie Q

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

Maybe "60 Minutes" should come to A2 and do an expose, perhaps a grand jury should be formed, or Congress hold hearings! That'll get to the bottom of it.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

There has to be video of this incident. Where is it?

Susie Q

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

Maybe the video doesn't show anything of value regarding the coaches, maybe only students are in it. I am quite sure that if the video showed the "heated exchange" between the two head coaches, then we would have a definitive answer as to exactly what happened. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone and let's let this unfortunate incident go.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

Greggy_D - If it involves people - AAPS will always cite privacy laws. Ask them for a total number of teachers employed - just a number and the will reject it on privacy grounds. They know that AnnArbor.Com and others don't have the money for a lawyer to actually break this excuse. What is needed is a couple of test cases and a pro bono lawyer or two. AAPS administration even told the board members if they wanted certain information the board members would have to FOIA it.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

Have any of the spectators posted video on youtube? I would imagine many would have filmed it.


Tue, Nov 20, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Privacy laws? The incident took place outdoors where there is absolutely no expectation of privacy. Is there an expectation of privacy while they are playing the football game? Of course not. So if there are laws being broken, an expectation of privacy will protect those involved? Heck no. Come on, Kyle....time for your company to lawyer up.

Kyle Austin

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

The district has cited privacy laws involving minors as a rationale for witholding the videos. It has not released any names of players involved in the incident, and the players involved could be identified in the video.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

Kyle...what is their reasoning for withholding the video? I assume FOIA'd it.

Kyle Austin

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

Greggy -- AAPS and the AAPD both have copies of the video. AAPS did not release the video along with the rest of its investigation documents today.