Amidst board investigation athletic director suddenly resigns


Photo by Margot Baer '18

Jeremy Hawkins stands on the sideline during a football game. Hawkins was the Athletic Director for nearly eight years until his sudden resignation in January.

Katherine Bird '18, Supervising Editor

Former athletic director, Jeremy Hawkins, a member of the Blue Devil community for nearly eight years, submitted his resignation on Jan. 12 to officially resign on Jan. 19. Curiosity sparked surrounding the situation and word spread like wildfire around the Grosse Pointe community. With this came questions as to why Mr. Hawkins suddenly resigned.

At the time of Mr. Hawkins resignation, an investigation was being conducted by the Grosse Pointe school district. Part of the investigation was to examine an alleged consensual, romantic relationship between Hawkins and a South coach according to a document obtained in a FOIA request by The Tower.

The investigation found that Hawkins did not disclose to the administration the essence of his consensual relationship with the coach. In the midst of the investigation, Hawkins agreed to resign for personal reasons according to a document obtained in the FOIA request.

Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Jon Dean, could not disclose the name of the coach due to confidential personal matters.

“What he did was unprofessional and a bit reckless,” Anthony DerManulian ’18 said. “I’m disappointed because as an administration member he shouldn’t have done that.”

The reason this relationship was a red flag in the district is that there are certain rules put in place in these types of situations, according to principal Moussa Hamka.

“We [GPPSS] have a board policy that strictly governs interactions with supervisors and subordinates.””

— principal Moussa Hamka

During the investigation, Hamka said his role was very minimal and as soon as he became aware of the situation he reported it to HR (human resources), which he added is standard protocol.

It was a smart decision by Hawkins to resign due to his unfortunate circumstances, according to DerManulian.

In light of Hawkins’ resignation, the district filled the position with interim athletic director and varsity baseball coach Daniel Griesbaum.

“We are currently in the second round of interviews,” Hamka said. “We will have our second round interviews either tomorrow (Jan. 31) or Thursday (Feb.1) and we hope to have an interim for the rest of the year by the end of this week.”

Griesbaum said he was asked to step in Jan. 8 when Hawkins was temporarily out of office pending the investigation.

“I am helping out until they can find someone that can take it the rest of the year,” Griesbaum said. “Then what will happen after that is they will post the position probably in March or April for a permanent replacement who will start next summer.”

Griesbaum has had previous experience with this position when he temporarily filled in for former athletic director Jo Lake in 2000 when he had knee surgery. He said his prior involvement allowed him to have a good understanding of what this position would entail.

“With 33 sports here there’s always something going on,” Griesbaum said. “Some issues to take care of. Fires to put out and that kind of thing so it’s a very demanding job timewise.”

The commitment this job poses will make it difficult to find a new athletic director, according to Hamka.

“While I hope we have someone committed to staying here long term, I recognize it’s a very grueling position with high demands,” Hamka said. “It’s hard to maintain a work-life balance. So my hope is that person is just as committed to South.”