Seattle Weekly Story Leads to Firing of Ballard High Coach

Aaron Silverberg, the Ballard High School varsity girls' tennis coach profiled in our June 13 cover story, was fired last week.

In an interview, Brad Hamilton, the head of Ballard's tennis programs, said "everyone—parents, teachers, and administrators"—was incensed by the story and that he and Ballard administrators had spent the ensuing days doing "damage control."

"Aaron's never going to coach high school again. He's done," Hamilton added.

Asked what Silverberg had done to warrant dismissal, Hamilton said, "I'm not at liberty to discuss that." He referred all other questions to athletic director Doug Bruketta.

"We're moving forward," was all Bruketta would say when I reached him at his office. Then he hung up on me.

According to Silverberg, Bruketta told him that after the story was published, Ballard Principal Phil Brockman "hit the roof." Bruketta also told him why he was dismissed. "The swear language was one," Silverberg recalls. "The sensual poetry was two. Those were the two biggest strikes. Doug said, no matter what, when someone sees something with young girls referring to sex, it puts me in a gray area."

Which raises the question: Had the story not appeared, would Silverberg still be the coach? Where was the oversight from Ballard administrators? Why did it take a newspaper story to make them aware of Silverberg's supposed improprieties?

For his part, Silverberg holds no grudges. "The world is terrified of anything that's perceived as putting girls in danger," he says. "Because of a few bad apples, all men are always suspected. Parents aren't logical. They're emotional, and when that fear comes up, it consumes them."

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