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Posted on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Pioneer assistant football coach fired after brawl; suspensions extended for Pioneer and Huron coaches

By Pete Cunningham


Huron High School football head coach Cory Gildersleeve, left, and Pioneer head coach Paul Test had their suspensions extended to two games on Tuesday.

Daniel Brenner |

Ann Arbor Public Schools has fired a Pioneer High School assistant football coach and extended the suspensions of Pioneer head coach Paul Test and Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve.

AAPS director of communications Liz Margolis confirmed on Tuesday that the district added one game to the Michigan High School Athletic Association's one-game suspensions of Test and Gildersleeve for their involvement in Friday night's on-field brawl following the game between the crosstown rivals.

Margolis also confirmed that the assistant coach was relieved of his coaching duties.

The brawl involving players and coaches began when Test and Gildersleeve came together at midfield and exchanged heated words following Test's decision not to take a knee at the end of the game. Test said Gildersleeve pushed him, which Gildersleeve has denied.

A Pioneer assistant coach saw the exchange, struck Gildersleeve and a fight broke out.

Margolis said the district will not release the name of the fired assistant or information on whether he's also employed as a teacher. She said his release would not affect any classroom assignment if he's also teaching in the district.

Multiple players have been suspended from each team, according to at least one source.

Margolis said the district could not confirm that information on Tuesday. However, the district expects to release the number of players suspended from each team on Wednesday, when it plans to conclude its investigation.

"We're just trying to be very thorough in a messy situation and ask for everybody's patience," Margolis said.

Any players ejected by the MHSAA referees for their postgame actions would be ineligible to play on Friday regardless of the district's action, but AAPS could suspend more players and extend pre-existing suspensions.

Neither Test or Gildersleeve have been fired from their head coaching positions and the suspensions only pertain to game duties. Both are still allowed to coach at practice and Gildersleeve's status as a physical education teacher at Huron is not affected. Test recently retired as a teacher from the district.

Though both teams conclude their regular seasons on Friday, the one-game extension could affect Test and his players this season as Pioneer could automatically qualify for the playoffs with a sixth win on Friday. Pioneer is 5-3 and faces Livonia Franklin on Friday. The Pioneers could still qualify for the postseason with five wins, but their spot is not guaranteed.

Huron's game against Westland John Glenn will conclude its season regardless of the outcome. Margolis said Gildersleeve's suspension would therefore carry over into next season and is a football-specific coaching suspension.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

I agree with Merdog56, coach Test is one of the finest individuals you'll ever meet. If people this incident is the only thing people know about coach Test and what he stands for, then that is a shame. The guy is the real deal. Anyone who has ever played for him is better off for it.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Football itself maybe be worth reconsidering. Where is this quote from? "You have to have a mindset that's ready to play in a figurative fist fight. And if you don't think that way, don't come to this game."


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 3:28 a.m.

How ironic that a kid can be suspended for 10 days for fighting and can not even come on school property.

david craven

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

If the state sports comission is really going to do something how about a 5YEAR probation on any thing like this again. Lincoln lacrosse had this and it really changes attitudes in a hurry when the coaches are GONE yes EVE CLARR this needs to be done you did it at Lincoln now step up and do the rite thing and show integerity with your new position.

The Secret Team

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

This type of conduct from coaches - who are expected to be role models to the students - is absolutely inexcusable and should constitute an embarrassment to the individuals involved. I will shed no tears if all are fired who were part of this unseemly mess.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Not a very good example of sportsmanship, no.....I still don't understand why Mr. Test wasn't (apparently) playing his benchwarmers. I would have loved to get into ANY game after the issue was no longer in doubt....and there would have been no real danger of "running up the score" accusations, LoL.....


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I think we should try to understand why Coach G acted unprofessional and created this incident, score running up excuse has gotten old. Move on.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Anyone who has ever met Paul Test will testify... He is the most humble, and gracious individual to coach in AA over the past few DECADES. I'm sure this incident is the last thing he would want to tarnish the city's reputation. Coach Test has worked for both schools, and serves as a role model for students, players, and coaches across the country. His work and ethical values are far reaching, more so than even he knows. Rivalry's can be heated. I've witnessed Coach Test work, and I'm sure nobody is more disappointed with this incident. Let's not let this one event tarnish the legacy and good work established through high school athletics, and both of these football programs. Let this be a learning experience, and let's move on.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

i suspect Coach Test hasn't been nominated for sainthood yet.Gildersleeve has always been,to put it nicely, Chippy.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Second that!!


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Coach Test-Good guy, bad situation! I am a proud Pioneer parent, with a student that has been coached by him.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

I agree too. Opppps did I say that, yup, he is a good guy.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

I agree.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

I'm surprised that no one has commented on the fact that the "suspension" of the coaches is no suspension whatsoever. It involves "only game duties," and both coaches are allowed to coach at practice. This is a suspension? Get serious! This is a slap on the wrist, and every kid on those teams knows it.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

The long story short of it is this. We already fired an assistant coach, suspended two coaches and right now no fall out from both teams. Where is the shame in that? Both teams including the coaches need a suspension as well. Otherwise this is going to send a strong message to the teams that it is ok to fight on the field even though they know it is wrong. AAPS BOE and the MHSAA need to realize this and do it. Then lets move on to other fun Halloween fun stuff.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Rather than speculate, shouldn't this information, at least the coach's name, be available through FOIA?? I don't live in the district, but I don't understand why this can't be public information. Obviously the kids will know eventually. It's probably all over Facebook as it is.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Football continues to reign over education as the primary focus of AAPS.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

This is true with most schools and colleges.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

I think Huron High School football head coach Cory Gildersleeve and Pioneer head coach Paul Test should be fired and not simply given a slap on the wrist. AAPS needs to crack down.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Has AAPS got the guts to do it though?


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Since when is the name of a public school employee who assaults someone at a school event kept secret? File a FoIA request or do some actual reporting by talking to players and parents and REPORT THE NEWS.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Police reports are available to Hard to believe that the identity of an alleged pugalist is not in the police report.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Hi Chris our reporters have filed a number of FOIA's related to the incident and we will update as the information is provided.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

The parents of the district need to know what happened. It is time for AAPS to release the video and cancel the remainder of both teams' seasons.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

The school district owes an explanation to the tax payers. On 9/16/2012, following the Pioneer / Dexter poor sportsmanship debacle, Terry Jacob of Heritage Media wrote of Pioneer's coaching: " High school football is just another class of learning and the lesson Friday night was how to kick an opponent when they are down." Now a Huron child will at a minimum carry cleat marks in his head for the rest of his life from being allegedly kicked while down subsequent to this clear warning of serious trouble with Pioneer's coaching. Yet, today this same coach practices with his team....while a Huron player hopes to regain his cognitive abilities and heal. If another player is injured due to poor Pioneer sportsmanship, it will be utterly indefensible.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

For those interested in concussion prognosis: "Healing or recovering from a concussion takes time. It may take days, weeks, or even months for a child's condition to improve. Parents and caregivers must learn how to treat the child's symptoms, how to monitor for problems, and when to allow the child to return to normal activities. Expectations (prognosis) Healing or recovering from a concussion takes time. •It may take days, weeks, or even months. •You may be irritable, have trouble concentrating, be unable to remember things, have headaches, dizziness, and blurry vision. •These problems will probably go away slowly. You may want to get help from family or friends before making important decisions. Complications Long-term problems are rare but may include: •Brain swelling (which can be life threatening), if you have a second concussion while still recovering from the first one •Long-term changes in the brain (if you have future brain injuries) •Symptoms of the concussion stay for a long period of time (in a small group of patients)"


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Another commenter posted a story about an issue they had after speaking to one of the coaches after a game (foul-mouthed, nasty, etc) and although they sent an email to Pioneer, she claims to have been rebuffed. Seems a pattern may have been ignored?


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

"Hopes to regain his cognitive abilities"? Why - is there some indication that some cognitive abilities were lost? Because all I've heard about is a cut on the face.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Glad to hear that this is coming to an end. Since there were numerous personal fouls throughout the game, the assumption is that neither coaching staff directed their players to show sportsman-like conduct on the field. There are no MHSAA mercy rules on scoring so this is a non issue. There are, however, code of conduct rules and that is why the Asst. Pioneer coach was fired. The lead picture says it all: the Huron AD looking with disdain at her out-of-control-and-being-restrained coach, who, counter to his quote, was heard swearing a blue streak. Then there is the Pioneer Coach trying to restrain Huron players from becoming aggressive. To wit, why was the Huron AD on the field for the handshake in the first place? Did she have a premonition of trouble to come due to past incidences? Besides a few comments from a parent of a pioneer player who didn't see enough play time (in THEIR opinion, and if they didn't like it, they could quit) all one has to do is look at each Coaches previous records of not only their jobs and coaching careers, but as human beings and one will see with clarity, each Coaches' characters and what they stand for. Gildersleeve should be relieved of his duties.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

mittengirl, what you don't know about the Huron AD was that this was possibly her mess in the first place. Keep in mind, this happened under "her watch." I don't know for sure. But, it's my guess that a lot of things got "swept under the rug," for one reason or another; and the "line in the sand" had never been drawn in the Huron Athletic Dept. Possibly the same is true at Pioneer. The fight on Friday night is possibly just a byproduct of the lack of leadership at the administrative level, above the coaches. Sure, they step in AFTER a problem. But, it's my guess that there's little going on in those hallways that serves to prevent something like this.... Case in point, it happened.

Joel A. Levitt

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Gildersleeve and the assistant coach should be prevented from having any further contact with AAPS students, and, unless they are now showing promise in psychological counseling, they should be fired.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

Sounds good to me.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Day 5 and still no video? And you can't name the assistant coach either? I know AAPS isn't "releasing" it, but I'm sure it's already known who that is. You do realize that you operate independently from AAPS, right?


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

This whole incident was scandalous. Coaches are supposed to be grown-ups, aren't they? Unless they can show that they not only did not contribute to the brawl, but actively attempted to break it up, both head coaches should be fired.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Charlie Moeller next head coach @ Huron!


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

Coach Test - when you have the ball with a minute to go in a game that you are winning by a large margin and the outcome is decided you take a knee, period. By throwing the ball and by calling a timeout, you should expect to be confronted by the opposing coach. Any coach would (and should) call you out on this. What transpired after the game is inexcusable, but your actions lit the fuse that set off the fire by resorting to bush league tactics. The fact that either head coach is able to be actively involved with their teams while suspended from coaching games by both the MHSAA and AAPS is very puzzling. It does not make any sense whatsoever. Oh, Wait - gotta prep for that next game so we can make the playoffs. After all, that's what sports is all about - just win baby! Sportsmanship be damned. You want a teachable moment - forfeit your last game and move on.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

15Crown00, the point is that you give you 2nd and 3rd stringers meaningful reps so that they are better prepared for future games. There is nothing wrong with it if it's done for this reason.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

whats the point of pouring it on with only a minute left.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

Did coach Test have his starters in? The answer is "no". If a head coach wants to give his 2nd and 3rd team reps in a game experience there is only one time to do it, when you are up big. Acting as if that has any bearing on this incident is laughable. Salineguy, you are way off base for blaming a coach for running up the score. Besides playing defense, there's another thing Coach G could have done to avoid this............stop playing sports if you don't like getting beat.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Coachs should be able to diffuse a lit fuse. Coach G should stick with teaching in school, not on the field, its clearly not me!


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

Exactly play defense....someone with some balls and sense.....carry on...


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

If you don't want the other team to run up the score, its easy, play Defense and stop them. Even in the NFL you see coach's telling their players to play EVERY down (example: Tampa Bay going after Eli when they were in victory formation) Could he have taken a knee sure, but maybe he wanted his players to run a few more real plays for next week. What it really boils down to is Mr. Gildersleeve was upset going 0-8 and losing to Pioneer badly. Wish people would stop making excuses for others.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Agree. "Teachable Moment" has become so cliche because many are not willing to truly make something a "teachable moment".


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 10:55 a.m.

Based on email addresses, it appears that only one assistant works for the district.

Jed I Knight

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 8:58 a.m.

Yeah - I agree why do we get this from the news first? The message about the "activity" was delivered from the administration.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 7:44 a.m.

so Cory i hear the song "On The Road Again"playing in the background.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 7:03 a.m.

Why is everyone automatically condemning Hurons' coach G???? He was upset over poor coaching from Pioneer. He did not throw any punches. He shows passion yes...I wish his players would show more. Since when is rubbing players faces in defeat considered right???? rip


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

he is wrong and should be fired, and the firing of the Pioneer assistant coach was the right thing to do....


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

Leave it to AAPS to "punt" in a situation like this!


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

Mr. Test has been the PE teacher at Thurston Elementary for years and both my kids and I have always considered him to be one of the best role models. He is professional, teaches the kids to respect each other for who they are, and always emphasized the importance of sportsmanship. I think it's important to recognize the bigger picture. And for the record, my kids go to Huron.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Why are we still bringing up this Dexter game? this man has been coaching for years and we are fixated on a Dexter game where the team has a 0-8 record and has been beaten badly by several other teams. Give me a break, lets move on from the Dexter game for once.

darre james

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

The way he is with grammar school kids is not the way he is with football me on this one.

Nick Danger

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 10:49 a.m.

Test showed little respect for the kids at Dexer when he ran up the score 69-0 while keeping in his first string the entire game


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

And for the record...have you seen him coach football?


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

Still mad about this....Gildersleeve should have taken his beating like a man. You lost. BIg. BIG. Stop your whining and coach your players. Don't force your AD to cover for you, or she'll find someone to coach the talent you're squandering.

tom swift jr.

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

I would speculate that if this type of event happened between two classroom teachers and their classes, the response from the district would be very different. This is disappointing, these individuals should not be working with students in any capacity or at any time in the future. Ann Arbor Schools has failed to protect their students or assure the quality of their educational program.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

I did not see the fight and therefore can't comment on the suspensions. However I will go on record anywhere that Paul Test is one of the finest gentlemen you'll ever meet. I had the privilege to play for coach Test in the 1990's. If I had a child who wanted to play football there isn't any in the world I'd rather have them learn from than coach Test. @A2girl63, what do you know about coach Test outside of what you've read about the fight?

jenica abinojar

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

I agree with you...


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

I agree with dk, having helped in the Pioneer program since the late 90's until a couple of years ago. Test was everything a good coach should be.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

I agree with you, I have dealt with him both on a professional and personal level, and he is a good person.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Shame on Dottie Davis and Eve Claar. Cory Gildersleeve has a history of blowing up on the field and throwing tantrums. He should be gone.

Der Commissar

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

Maybe Davis has a history of "blowing up," herself? I think that that is where the real problem lies.

Nick Danger

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

Whch assistant did they fire.Why not name him.

darre james

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

As a parent of a pioneer player I saw something like this coming (not necessarily a brawl) but some type of implosion. and tried to address my concerns with a personal meeting with the head coach.Wish he would have listened before it came to this.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

It appears that you don't care for the head coach or the other coaches at Pioneer from your blogs, does it benefit to have your child play for him or there? Just wondering.

average joe

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

This is exactly what the administration should be looking at, not just what happened after the final whistle on friday.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

This article takes exception to the Pioneer coaching conduct back on Sept 16. I had to read it from the google cache: The Ann Arbor Pioneer football coaches pulled one of the classless moves – well, two moves – I've seen since I started covering high school sports in the late 1980s. ... I trust that these men put in charge of the Ann Arbor Pioneer football team are good people. Even good people sometimes make bad decisions and what happened on Friday night in my opinion was a bad decision.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

Interesting read. The second link you posted works better. I have not followed local HS football closely, but that article puts recent events into a different perspective for me.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

And against the law. And violent behavior in the public school system. And against MHAA code of conduct. And against Pioneer code of conduct. When mistakes are made the charges stand. Maybe good people can get probation, if they are fortunate and have a good lawyer. Should "hot heads" get a break? They are already crossing the line into inappropriate conduct every day.


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

AAPS Administration Please explain to me WHY I had to learn any of this from I am a parent with a child who was directly involved with this situation and have had no communication about it from anyone! None of the parents have been contacted for their input on what the consequences should be. I know I speak for many parents, when I say that I am shocked that these coaches who behaved in such a childish and unprofessional manner are not being terminated. One of the coaches in particular is a known hot head, a poor communicator and has done little to foster solid relationships with parents or students - hence the losing seasons for the last three years under his direction. I was shocked to learn that he has been at practice the last two days, business as usual. Had they asked me, I would have said I do not want him coaching my son any longer. But - not surprisingly - they didn't ask me. And to - there have been no player suspensions that we are aware of at this point. At least not from the green team.

Soccer Mom

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 4:31 a.m.

@A2Puzzled &'re right...I just re-read the email I received today, it is a duplicate of what the principal sent us yesterday.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

I hope at the very least they have identified the student who was using the crutch as a weapon and the student who kicked the player in the face and punish accordingly.

darre james

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

The suspension for the players will be announced tommorow


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

I received the automated phone call and identical emails from the school principals yesterday that said not much of anything as far as I'm concerned. Nothing today. What was sent out today?

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:43 a.m.

"Why weren't the coaches (and a few others) arrested for assault?" We haven't heard from AAPD yet, so it could still happen. We have only heard from AAPS and HMSAA thus far.


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

@soccer mom. As a Huron I received and email and robo call . Nothing today.

Soccer Mom

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

@A2 Puzzled...You should have been contacted by now. I am parent of teens that attend Huron High School, I received an email and phone call recording yesterday apologizing for this incident as well as another email today. My children weren't even there. You should make sure they have your up to date contact info.


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

Why weren't the coaches (and a few others) arrested for assault?


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

What a joke. AAPS will allow these men to teach our children. I guess it pays to be a friend of the AD ..


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

unstable on the playing field = still okay to teach?

Pete Cunningham

Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

She would not say if he is a teacher. Hypothetically, if he is a teacher, at this point his classroom assignment would not be affected.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

So by saying no class assignments are affected by the assistant's firing, is she saying he will still teach or that he isn't a teacher? LIttle confused by her wording.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Carry over into next season?? Are we really thinking he'll be back after 5-4, 3-6, 1-8, and 0-9 seasons plus this brawl? Rubbish!


Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

What's really sad is that you think the records even come into the picture.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 17, 2012 : 3:20 a.m.

@Events, There is a clear difference between conduct calling for discipline and criminal conduct. Suspensions are appropriate, but felony charges are excessive. Not sure why you think these guys should lose their right to future employment., but I disagree.


Tue, Oct 16, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

No way! If they are teachers, and exhibit violence, maybe even criminal assault conduct, there's no possibility of passing an employment screen. Why would a teacher who is already on the payroll be allowed to teach in the classroom after being charged with violent behavior. The charges should be levied at the AAPS policy level, the MHAA code of conduct level, and the local/state/federal level for criminal assault conduct. If we are going to be lenient, then layers are going to argue that *anyone* who perpetrates violence in the public schools will have a precedent of lenient treatment. This will lead to more violence and the sense that our public schools are not safe and free of violence.