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Posted on Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

Paul Test: Pioneer assistant who shoved Huron coach was fired without due process

By Kyle Austin


Pioneer and Huron players and coaches on the field after the team's Oct. 12 game.

Daniel Brenner |

A day after announcing his resignation as Pioneer High School's head football coach, Paul Test criticized Ann Arbor Public Schools’ response to the Huron-Pioneer football brawl, saying the firing of a Pioneer assistant coach was done without due process.

Former Pioneer assistant Vince Wortmann was terminated four days after the Oct. 12 brawl, for shoving then-Huron coach Cory Gildersleeve during the postgame handshake. Test and Gildersleeve both received two-game suspensions.

Test said Wortmann’s termination “bothered me a lot.”

“I would say the fact that coach Gildersleeve and I were suspended for two weeks and he was terminated was inappropriate,” Test said. “Either suspend them all and investigate or terminate them all, but why suspend two and terminate another without due process?”

District spokesperson Liz Margolis said only that Wortmann was contracted through a private company called PCMI, and that the district notified PCMI that it was “no longer interested in his employment.”

“That’s all I’m going to really say to it,” Margolis said. “I’m sure Paul Test has his own feelings about it.”

The official’s report of the game describes Wortmann shoving Gildersleeve with both hands in response to Gildersleeve physically forcing Test backward during the postgame handshake.

The Washtenaw County prosecutor’s Office opted not to charge Wortmann for his role in the brawl, ruling that he acted legally in defense of Test. In an email to Pioneer Athletic Director Eve Claar the day after the incident, Wortmann contended he acted in defense of Test.

“I think the official’s report and the prosecutor’s report confirms that what he did was act in a defensive posture,” Test said. “He saw someone that he cares about and respects...being disrespected, if nothing else, is what he saw. There’s no question he saw that."

Test also said Wortmann’s shove didn’t incite the brawl, but declined to elaborate, citing legal reasons.

Wortmann spent four years on the Pioneer staff, Test said.

“He’s someone who has been very loyal, very hard-working, and is an excellent coach,” Test said.

Test resigned Thursday at Pioneer’s head coach, but said the decision wasn’t related to the brawl.

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



Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

Coach Glenny should move on as well.As the offense coordinator he was responsible for running up the score and test allowed it.In fact I knew things were going south this summer when Glenny arrived from saline.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

Good that Test resigns like Gildersleeve. Both probably should have been fired. Clean house at both schools and get some coaches and assistants that connect with the student athletes and are good role models.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

Time to let this issue Test in Peace. An at will employee being terminated without process is quite appropriate. If Rest thinks all coaches are entitled to due process, then he is saying only hire coaches who are employees of the school district and teach. That may not be unreasonable, as it would have kept several of the coaches involved in the game that led to the Huron-Pioneer brawl away from the children of Ann Arbor on the football field.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Just children being children... Oh wait - these are adults we're talking about. oops! Maybe start acting like adults.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Mr. Test is wrong on more counts than I can add up right now, but let's try. 1) Any "excellent coach" at this brouhaha was in the stands, by coincidence, and not on the field. 2) The fired assistant's loyalty was to the students, not Test, and his violent reaction was uncalled for. 3) The tawdriest aspect of this disreputable and shameful episode is that a teen-age student faces felony charges that flowed directly from the example set by the so-called adult supervisors.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

He wasn't just fired without due process. He was also smeared in the press and to the public because he was terminated as a result of accusations.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

He got all the due process he was due. He is a contract employee, they can be here today and gone tomorrow for almost any reason - even if you don't like their Facebook post.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

I am shocked that any parent these days allows their kid to play football. Most of the parents I know whose kids play football brag incessantly about these kids. I see a false sense of bravado in these kids which trickles down from the programs' attitude.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

I could easily say the same thing about kids from the orchestra and their parents. But i wont because that would be too much of a generalization. There are good and bad kids in every group and plenty of bragging parents to spare all around the schools.

Michigan Man

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Throw all of them out and start again. Ann Arbor High Schools could use a Tim Tebow type football coach - A young man who stands tall with all the right stuff.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

Except without the Jesus thing.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

Just one more reason to get rid of football


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

This is more of an institutional problem than it is the sins of this particular incident.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Mr Test, you were the head coach. You were responsible for your players AND your assistants. The whole situation could have been avoided but you failed miserably. Now, be a grown up and move on.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 3:30 a.m.

Pioneer has slid a long way down the tubes since the days of Coaches Ritter and Lowry.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:24 a.m.

Agreed. He failed when he didn't instruct his coaches to go to all run plays or victory formation. To allow an assistance coach to call a deep pass play late in a decided game is irresponsible. The buck stops with Test. He's lucky he got to retire. Coach Wortmann, from the what the article state seems like a contract employee (better known as temporary employee) that can be terminated for any reason with or without cause.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Is there no end to this discussion of the "brawl?" Aren't there better articles and issues to discuss on AA dot com? I think a lot of us are tired of hearing about it.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

This is called freedom of expression. If you feel this way, I am not sure why you spent your time reading this article and responding.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

Does the Constitution of Pioneer High School guarantee due process?


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : midnight

Can this PLEASE just be over? Everybody acted like idiots. Thankfully, the "adults" have either decided to move on or been let go. The players who were believed to have injured people were charged. We do not need daily articles about this. Let it go.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

Per the article, Wortman was NOT an employee of . The school system made a decision to NOT renew the contract with the other party It would be like you hire a cleaning company to clean your office. The person who they hire poops on the floor and leaves. You fire the cleaning company. The cleaning company can do whatever they want with you, but you are not entitled to due process from them. If Wortman were an EMPLOYEE of AAPS he would have certain rights. He did not have them as a contractor.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Are you saying that an employee, either full time or contract, can assault a coworker at work and keep his job? Oh, that is one of the benefits of union membership. Had he been a union member, he would be placed on paid leave while an investigation was completed, and be required to complete an employer-paid anger management program. Then return to his job as if nothing happened. Sweet!


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Let me say that I support the termination of Wortman. However, the argument that he is not an employee of AAPS does not require due process is not right, even though legal. I suspect this is why more companies have this practice. As AAPS and other companies outsource noncritical jobs, this should not allow them to terminate employment wihout due process They should be required to follow the some process as "employees".


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Nobody said anything about "rights", he said "due process". If the guy lost his job unfairly due to actions of the AAPS, I care about that. You should, too.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

no, nobody who engaged in that behavior or "coached" anyone who engaged in that behavior was an excellent or loyal coach. There wasn't excellence in coaching demonstrated as the game was played. There wasn't excellence in coaching in the way the "rivalry" was fostered. There wasn't excellence in coaching shown at all in this any of this. The rest should go as these two have.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

The guy was fired from what amounts to a part time job. I don't think "due process" needs to come in to play.

Basic Bob

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

He received due process from the legal system. But he gave up his right to employment when he tackled another employee at work.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

Paul's argument makes no sense here. Of course every individual was treated individually. If every coach had gotten the same reprimand, Paul would be complaining that they shouldn't have been punished as a group. And "due process" has meaning only in the context of legal proceedings. It doesn't have anything to do with severing an employment contract. It's unfortunate that this man was chosen to be an example for kids. I hope they choose someone better next time.