Pioneer assistant football coach fired after brawl; suspensions extended for Pioneer and Huron coaches
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com
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.