• Michigan

Warren De La Salle fires football coach Mike Giannone after lawsuit filed against school for handling of hazing scandal

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, December 16, 2019, 6:40 pm

A little over seven weeks after pulling the plug on the the postseason, in the wake of discovering a hazing incident, Warren De La Salle collegiate did the same thing with the head coach of the football program, announcing the dismissal of Mike Giannone. 

The same day as reports came out that three of the players suspended in the wake of the scandal were suing the school , the administration sent out an email to parents to let them know they’d severed ties with the longtime coach, who was also the associated director of admissions for the school. 

“We have made our best effort to communicate regularly with the De La Salle Collegiate community and be forthright with our actions in regard to the alleged hazing incident(s). By now, you may have seen the news about the lawsuit that was filed against De La Salle today. We are also writing to inform you that Mike Giannone is no longer with our school,” the email read.

“While we cannot comment on legal matters or human resources, we want to impart that we have been steadfast in maintaining the safety, health, and education of all De La Salle students as our top priority while we navigate this troubling issue. We have been working in full collaboration with our Board of Trustees and the Christian Brothers on all actions in response to the hazing allegations and will continue to do so as we address this lawsuit and other next steps.”

The email finishes: “Our hearts and prayers are with those impacted by the hazing, particularly the students who were victimized and their families.”

Giannone was hired away from Macomb Dakota in January, 2016, after building the Cougars in to a powerhouse, and winning a pair of state titles. He went 4-5 his first season with the Pilots, then 24-4 the next two seasons, claiming back-to-back Division 2 state championships. 

President John M. Knight sent out a similar email on Halloween, outlining the decision to forfeit the Pilots’ upcoming postseason game against Birmingham Groves and end the season, after the allegations of hazing came to light. 

The Warren Police took over the investigation, requesting assault and battery charges be filed against three students, and the St. Clair County Prosecutor’s Office assumed control of the case after the Macomb County prosecutor, Eric Smith, recused himself from the case because of a potential conflict of interest. 

Giannone was one of those interviewed by investigators, but has not commented publicly.