Board disciplines athletic director for violating orders
Superintendent Rick Hilderley has disciplined Tecumseh Public Schools’ (TPS) athletic director, Jon Zajac, following an independent investigation. Zajac had been on paid non-disciplinary leave since Monday, Nov. 30.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, a non-criminal complaint against Zajac was filed with TPS. The complaint stemmed from an incident wherein Zajac was accused of organizing a basketball practice on November 25 with his son and other THS students at an open gym in a local church, and those players would then play in a tournament in Ohio on November 28.
The independent investigation, which concluded on December 23, found that Zajac violated the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) order that was issued on November 15. That order by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state suspended all school sports activities. During that order, the only coach-player contact and activities allowed for all sports (fall, winter and spring) was virtual communication.
“We are disappointed with the poor judgment shown by our athletic director, Mr. Zajac. His actions violated a government order and potentially endangered the safety of TPS students. We have taken action to address the issue and we will expect better from Jon moving forward,” said Hilderley.
On the advice of legal counsel, TPS had sought a third-party firm to investigate the claims, and Recon Management Group, LLC out of Bingham Farms handled the investigation.
The superintendent followed Board of Education policy related to administrator discipline. “I take full responsibility for my actions. I broke a MDHHS restriction of organizing a sport open gym and by taking my son and a few of his friends to Toledo to play in a basketball tournament over the Thanksgiving break,” said Zajac. “This was not done with ill intent or maliciously. I should have checked with Mr. Hilderley prior to participating in the tournament. I apologize for my actions and involvement in this.” Zajac returned to normal duties on December 23.
The findings from the investigation will be sent to MDHHS and the Michigan High School Athletic Association.