You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Pioneer head football coach Paul Test resigns, says brawl wasn't reason for decision

By Kyle Austin

Pioneer High School head football coach Paul Test announced his retirement Thursday night at his team’s postseason banquet, ending his two-year run as head of the program.

Thumbnail image for pioneer-football-coach-paul-test.jpg

Paul Test had a 16-7 record in two seasons leading Pioneer.

The announcement comes less than two months after the Oct. 12 Pioneer-Huron postgame brawl that resulted in suspensions, a dismissal and criminal charges.

Test said his decision to retire was not based on the brawl and its aftermath.

“It was not decided by that,” Test said Friday afternoon. “Had that never had happened, I was still considering what I inevitably did anyway.”

In the immediate aftermath of the brawl, Test said he felt pressure to resign, but was assured that he would not be asked to. He said in the end, the decision to retire was his alone.

“There was initially some discussion of pressure, but I was assured a while back by (Pioneer Athletic Director Eve Claar) that there was no pressure from anyone else,” Test said. “That’s the truth.”

Test retired from his teaching position last year, and no longer holds any job within Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Huron head coach Cory Gildersleeve also resigned at his team’s banquet in early November. Both coaches were suspended two games for their roles in the brawl.

The retirement ends Test’s second stint as Pioneer head coach, after he previously coached the team from 1991-94. He also spent 20 years as an assistant at Pioneer and with other area programs, including Huron.

Test retires with a 16-7 record in two seasons, two Southeastern Conference Red Division titles, and a 2011 division title. His team this year advanced to the district finals before falling to Saline.

But his retirement comes while there is still ongoing fallout from the brawl. One of his players, Bashir Garain, was in a courtroom Thursday morning, facing assault charges after police say he used his crutch as a weapon during the brawl. Test was present to show his support as Garain waived his preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty.

While Test said the brawl and its aftermath didn’t directly lead to his resignation, he admitted the ongoing fallout has taken its toll in the last two months. That fallout has included his suspension, the suspension of players, the firing of one of his assistant coaches and the criminal charges.

“One thing I’ve learned is that most of us want to control things in our lives, and one thing I’ve found is that most of what has come to the forefront is that we’re not in control,” Test said. "I wasn’t in control of what transpired that night, and that’s unfortunate.”

Test said he is remorseful for what happened during the brawl, but also said that he couldn’t have done anything differently. He reiterated Friday afternoon that one of his assistant coaches called for a deep pass late in the game, with Pioneer holding a 35-6 lead. Test said he had no knowledge of the pass beforehand, but that he "should have been more aware."

That pass incensed Gildersleeve and the Huron sideline. According to the referee's report from the game, Gildersleeve pushed Test during the postgame handshake.

“I feel bad for the kids, both Huron and Pioneer kids that were involved in the aftermath, and the repercussions from them getting in trouble,” Test said. “Ultimately I’m responsible, but ultimately I don’t know what I could have done differently. It was sad that I couldn’t just wave a magic wand and make it stop.”

Yet despite the brawl, Test said he feels good about what he was able to accomplish at Pioneer, and didn’t rule out returning to coaching in a different capacity.

“I’ve been doing it for 36 years and felt it was the right time,” Test said of his retirement. “I felt good about it being culminated after two successful seasons.

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



Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

No doubt Gildersleeve and Test had a lot of pressure to resign...and just as well they did. Both coaches demonstrated a colossal failure of leadership and sportsmanship. I wonder if Pioneer and Huron should skip playing each other for at least a year.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Momma G is spot on. Paul Test is a class act 100% of the way. Ann Arbor lost a very valuable asset.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 11:45 a.m.

"Ultimately I'm responsible, but ultimately I don't know what I could have done differently. It was sad that I couldn't just wave a magic wand and make it stop." If he doesn't know what he could have done differently, then I agree it is a good idea for him to retire.

Steve Brown

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 3:12 a.m.

Rumor in the school is school board forced out coach test.

Pamela Test

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

We all know how credible rumors are and this time they are wrong. I don't think they have any teeth in this situation especialy given the high favor he holds with the parents and his student athletes.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

And Elvis is ALIVE!

Momma G

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

Jim & Leonard obviously don't know Paul Test. This is the most honorable, respectable human being that Ann Arbor Schools has ever had employed as a PE teacher and coach. It's too bad that he has chosen to step down since the brawl was caused by the hot-headed coach from Huron and the assistant coach making that call - probably to boost the ego of a young jock who wanted to prove his abilities. I feel sorry for the other players on the PHS team who only wanted to win the game and not rub it into the noses of the losing team. Paul Test did a wonderful job bringing his team as far as he did this past season. God Bless you Paul.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

It says "I do" know him,read please.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Leonard, you don't know coach Test, but you do know that he is secretly and slyly doing other things? If you don't know him, how could you possibly know ths?


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

There is Christ, and then there is the anti-Christ.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 3:50 a.m.

I do know him personally and you are wearing rose colored glasses.Not to insult you at all but You can't always believe what people want you to see when they are secretly and slyly doing other things,trust me on this.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

Good riddance


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

What is a preliminary heading? Is that somewhat like a pre-lim hearing?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

"...waived his preliminary heading pleaded not guilty..." Huh? There's a typo in there. How about some proofreading...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

haha JRW you beat me to the post my comment key...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Speaking from the "Rats" class of 81, I never thought I would see anything like that between our two schools ,but those are the times now with three High schools the talent pool is watered down, lines between friends whom went to elementary and jr.high is crooked and us townies are far and few on each team (out of district and transfer )'and the new age of high school ball. Between Huron and Skyline the football Poole has been split and the flagship school gets most of the talent in football, the coaches don't have a a dog in this fight because they come and go. It took Huron along time to compete with PI-Hi in the 80's we match up well lost our way in the 90's started to balance out towards the end then came skyline and charted schools, flagship wins in the long run. I'm cool with that! my boy goes to Skyline now and they got a long way to go, but they hold there heads high know matter the damage any school puts on them and they respect there brother and sisters at there rival schools don't forget that PI -Hi and my River Rats, it took along time to build the respect we had for each other cause when it's all said and done all we have is this A2 community regroup and play ball.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Oh Jim, your English is so perfect. Congratulations on your graduation from Cranbrook. Just read the stories and put a sock in it.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

I hope Huron has added English classes since 1981.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

The task of molding a group of testosterone-charged boys in their mid and late teens into a team is very difficult. I salute the man that is capable of accomplishing it. Often times the task is akin to herding tomcats. Mistakes happen. No blood was spilt and no limbs were shattered. Although we onlookers watch with concern, in the day-to-day occurences in our community; let's keep in prospective the events on the Huron High football field.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 3:22 a.m.

RE: "No blood was split..." As I recall a youth was injured, to the point of bleeding, during the brawl.

Jim Mulchay

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Paul Test has been coaching (and also teaching) in the Ann Arbor schools for a long time. He previously replaced Chuck Lori as Pioneer's football coach for several years after serving as Mr. Lori's assistant. He HAS coached / taught / molded a lot of young men.

Ron Granger

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

They only hired Test in 2011. Those kids have played football for many years. You make it sound like they hadn't played the game of football before his arrival.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

So now he won't even have to do the sensitivity training. Perfect. Still waiting for that video ...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Kudos to Coach Test, you have positively affected many student athletes in your career.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Absolutely agree, including my young children.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

The brawl with Huron High will be a big blemish on Paul Test's record. A sad circumstnce. He would have been better off remaining as HC for one more year to put the brawl behind him.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

You don't know what you are talking about. How could Test have prevented and then stopped the brawl that ensued? Wheteher he called for a deep pass or not Gildersleeve's reaction was what triggered the incident.

Claude Kershner

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

This is a good thing for everyone concerned. I'm also glad he went to court to show support for the young man facing charges.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Ron Granger

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

I would have said crutch.