beat pete: Fired Dexter coach facing ex-team as member of Pioneer staff leads off Week 3 pick 'em contest
AnnArbor.com file photo
That’s what I get for picking against the defending Division 2 state champions - Birmingham Brother Rice - who beat Pioneer, 28-7, and Division 3 state quarterfinalists - East Lansing - who beat Chelsea 27-0.
If you look closely, you’ll notice the list of people who “Beat Pete” only includes 62 names. A message to whomever listed his first name as the name of a rival school, and last name as “Stinks.” C’mon man. You’re going to have to do better than that to slip one past me.
And to the three readers who “Beat Pete,” but submitted their picks the morning after three quarters of the games had been played, I again say, C’mon man. Step your game up.
Now, let’s move on to this week’s games, starting with Pioneer’s game at Dexter, which is an intriguing matchup. This may come as a surprise to anyone who has ever been to a Dexter versus Pioneer game because Dexter is 1-6 historically, with its lone victory coming in 2007 by way of forfeit. Pioneer has outscored Dexter by an average of 29.1 points in those teams’ seven meetings.
Not exactly a spirited rivalry.
The interesting element in this game is the fact that on the Pioneer’s sideline as an assistant on coach Paul Test’s staff will be former Dexter head coach, Tom Barbieri. Barbieri coached the Dreadnaughts for 10 years and was 30-60 before being fired following the 2010 season.
Barbieri wasn’t pleased with the decision, or how it came about, and filed a grievance through the Dexter Education Association alleging wrongful dismissal. The longtime coach received $10,500 and other perks as part of a settlement with the district after just one day of arbitration this past spring.
Barbieri remains a physical education teacher within the district and more than anything wanted to remain the head coach for the kids and community he’d been a part of for so long. On Friday, he will coach against the very students he teaches and whom he groomed in the youth football league - which he founded - in Dexter.
“It is kind of strange I have most of the varsity football players in my P.E. classes and we talk about the game coming up and how they’re doing,” Barbieri said. “There’s a lot of hesitation because I know kids on both sides, but right now I’m coaching the Pioneer kids to do the best they can and to win our first league game. I think it will be a great challenge for us.”
Barbieri downplayed that his players would be motivated to “win one for coach Barbieri” or anything of that nature.
But kids are kids and coaches are human beings. If anyone on the Pioneer sideline feels Barbieri was wronged in any way shape or form, they’ll have an extra bit of motivation.
On the Dexter side, no one likes to get embarrassed at home, and having the fired former coach and current teacher in the district on the opposite sideline can only intensify that feeling.
The person stuck in the middle here: Barbieri. No matter where you stand on his firing, his love for his players and students in Dexter has never been questioned. He signed a letter to the district during the arbitration proceedings “It is a great day to be a Dreadnaught!”
He is coaching against those Dreadnaughts on Friday.
“It’ll be a unique experience for me, I’ve never been through anything like this where I’m teaching in one school and coaching against those kids,” Barbieri said. “I give my heart and soul to the kids of Dexter during the school days, but in practice and at night I give my heart and soul to the Pioneer kids.
“Friday night I’m going to do everything I can for the Pioneer kids to win this football game.” The game leads off this week’s picks.
People who have “Beat Pete” so far: This week: 63; Overall: 68
Pete’s overall picks record: 17-4 (.810); Last week: 7-2 (.778)