MHSAA suspends Huron and Pioneer head football coaches; Ann Arbor Public Schools silent on actions
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
- Ann Arbor superintendent: Football brawl violated friendship, healthy rivalry between high schools
- Six second half personal fouls escalated tension before Pioneer-Huron brawl
- Ann Arbor Public Schools officials meeting Monday to determine next steps in aftermath of football brawl
- Mother of Huron player injured in high school football brawl: 'It's just terrible'
- One victim sent to hospital, no arrests made after on-field brawl at Huron, Pioneer football game
Ann Arbor Public Schools director of communications Liz Margolis confirmed Monday evening that Huron and Pioneer head football coaches Cory Gildersleeve and Paul Test have been suspended by the Michigan High School Athletic Association for their roles in last Friday’s brawl between the two schools.
Margolis went on to say that there could be further consequences for both coaches, as well as players and assistants for both teams taken by AAPS, but that that information would not be released to the public because of district policy. Those decisions will be made in the next 24 hours.
“We’re still working through our investigation. We are making further notices to those involved.” Margolis said. “We’re taking this by a day-by-day basis.”
Both teams will be allowed to compete in their respective regular season finales on Friday night.
Margolis said video footage of the fight will also not be released to the public.
“We are not going to make the videos public because they contain actions by minors and we have to protect minors.” Margolis said. “There is also concern about retaliation. For the safety of the students and staff we are not releasing the footage.”
When asked if there would be any sort of public meeting for the community to attend and ask questions about the incident, Margolis said there were no such events scheduled at this time.
Meanwhile, the mother of a Huron High School football payer injured in Friday’s melee said her son’s health is not improving after he suffered a concussion and required five stitches in his left cheek. Will Harris was struck in the face by a crutch and had his head stepped on during the fight.
Debbie Harris said her son’s headaches were worse Sunday than they had been earlier in the weekend and their severity increased whenever he attempted to do any “light activities.”
Will did not have to return to the hospital, but has been advised to return if his symptoms worsen. He did not attend school on Monday.
Debbie Harris said her family has been contacted by the Ann Arbor Police Department and is cooperating in their investigation. She added that her family had not received any sort of update from the school district concerning punishments being handed out to those involved.
Police are currently reviewing tapes of the incident before determining if any criminal charges will be filed.
Margolis said AAPS officials are working with the police to help in their investigation.
The Pioneer football team (5-3 on the season) is scheduled to play Livonia Franklin Friday night. If the Pioneers win, they would be guaranteed a playoff spot. Huron (0-8) plays at Westland John Glenn High School.
Along with the coaches, any player who was ejected by the MHSAA following last week’s fight will also not be allowed to participate on Friday.
Huron principal Arthur Williams and Pioneer interim principal Kevin Hudson released the following joint statement on Monday evening:
Dear Huron and Pioneer High School Families,
It is with a heavy heart that we share with you our concern regarding the incident that occurred during the Pioneer vs. Huron Varsity football game on Friday, October 12, 2012. This was an inexcusable and embarrassing situation for our students, the schools and the Ann Arbor Community. We all were affected by the actions that took place at Friday’s football game.
The incident was both unnecessary and tarnished the reputations of two outstanding schools. On behalf of the administration and staff, we will work diligently to rebuild the confidence in these programs by engaging both teams and coaching staffs in community service activities, team building and dedicated trainings on leadership skills.
Several investigations are in process including the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the District and the Ann Arbor Police Department.
We thank both the Huron and Pioneer communities for their support and patience as we work together to rebuild community spirit and collegiality between our two schools.
Matt Durr covers sports for AnnArbor.com.