By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Dearborn High School varsity football coach John Powell is the subject of petition drive started this week asking for replacement.
The petition calling for change had 49 of 100 signatures as of Oct. 22 along with comments in support of and also criticizing Powell.
“Before recent years, the Dearborn High football program ranked amongst the best and was held to a higher standard,” the petition read. “However, since the emergence of John Powell, our football program has been on a continuous decline. Disappointment and frustration has been the constant theme felt by players, parents and alumni.
“The lack of motivation, discipline and overall character across the program has become more prominent during Powell’s tenure. We want to remind the community that we do have a voice, and will speak up when change is necessary. This petition entails specific explanations as to why John Powell is not fit to be the leader of the Dearborn High football program created by former parents and players who have directly worked with him. It’s time to make our voices heard.”
DHS faced Livonia Franklin High School Oct. 23. The Pioneers were 2-2 going into the game in the shortened six-game regular season.
Wins include Westland John Glenn and Wayne Memorial with losses against Fordson and Livonia Stevenson.
Powell was appointed head coach before the 2013-14 season where he succeeded former head coach David Mifsud. He served as assistant coach to Mifsud in 2012 and also has experience coach basketball and golf at Fordson.
At DHS, Powell is listed as a teacher for biology and physical education along with his head football coaching position.
Communications Director David Mustonen said Dearborn High and the Dearborn Public Schools is always open to talking with students, parents, and staff members to address concerns.
“No one has made any attempt to contact the athletic department or administration in regards to the football program at Dearborn High,” Mustonen said in a statement. “We fully support all of our school teams and the outstanding job that our principals, athletic directors and coaches do to not only teach the skills needed to compete, but more importantly to instill values and sportsmanship in our student athletes.
“Anyone can start a petition, and we have no idea who started this petition or why. There does appear to be several inaccuracies and unsubstantiated claims.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])