Mike Giannone, winner of four state titles, out as Warren De La Salle football coach
Legendary high-school football coach Mike Giannone is out at Warren De La Salle, amid a hazing incident involving varsity players that led to the cancellation of the team's playoff game, and has resulted in a lawsuit filed by three students against the school.
De La Salle officials would not say if Giannone was fired or resigned. He is no longer listed on the school's athletic website; nine assistant football coaches are listed.
WDIV Channel 4 was first to report the news.
De La Salle released a statement to The Detroit News, which read:
“We cannot comment on legal matters or human resources, but we want to impart that all decisions have been carefully considered in collaboration with our Board of Trustees and the Christian Brothers, and with the safety, health and education of our students as our top priority. Our hearts and prayers are with those impacted by the hazing, particularly the students who were victimized and their families. We are confident we will grow from this experience and continue to build a strong school and, most importantly, strong young men whose futures will reflect the principles on which De La Salle was founded — faith, character, intellect and morality.”
Giannone didn't immediately return a call from The News on Monday night, and hasn't returned numerous calls from The News for several weeks. Warren De La Salle president John M. Knight didn't immediately return a call from The News.
The hazing incident, sexual in nature, came to light in late October, prompting the school to cancel its Nov. 1 postseason opener.
Warren Police attempted to interview every member of the football team, as well as the coaches, in conducting its investigation.
Multiple players were suspended from school, three of whom filed a lawsuit against De La Salle on Monday, alleging they were singled out unfairly. The three are persons of color; they claim 10 white students are being investigated and remain in school.
The St. Clair County Prosecutor's Office is handling the case, as Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith recused his office. One of his prosecutors could be a witness.
Giannone took over De La Salle prior to the 2016 season, and led the team to the Division 2 state championships in 2017 and 2018. He coached at Macomb Dakota for 18 years, compiling a 158-51 record that included 15 straight appearances in the state playoffs, including Division 1 state titles in 2006 and 2007.
His overall record is 191-64 in 22 years.
The 2019 team was 5-4 in the regular season and was to open the playoffs against Birmingham Groves before school officials pulled the plug on the season.