Shockwaves in Seattle: Lincoln High Football Coach Quits Over Safety Fears

In a surprising turn of events, Aaron Hart, the beloved football coach of Lincoln High School in Seattle, won’t be making a return for the 2023 season.

Hart, the driving force behind Lincoln’s football program since its inception in 2019, made the tough decision to step down from his role in early May. His departure comes with a heavy heart, motivated by concerns over his players’ safety.

In an email addressed to the Lincoln Community, Hart wrote: “I have decided to step down due to safety concerns related to the school being forced to play a varsity schedule in the upper tier of metro next season. I always tell our players, ‘If you see something wrong, say something’ and I believe that is what I am doing.”

After an impressive season, where they shared the top spot in the Metro’s Sound Division with a solid 6-3 overall record, the school is moving up in the world! They’re being promoted to the Mountain Division. Here, they’ll be up against several prestigious private-school programs, including formidable rivals like O’Dea and Eastside Catholic. It’s sure to be an exciting season!

“We are just not built like that to withstand the schedule and play those teams,” Hart said. “90-95% of our incoming athletes have never played tackle football. We don’t have feeder programs like other schools in the state.”

In 2022, Seattle Public Schools reshaped metro football’s traditional three-division system (Mountain, Sound, and Valley) into a larger two-division format, eliminating the Valley division.

Following a tough season with an 0-10 overall record, Roosevelt High School will now join the Sound Division, taking the spot vacated by Lincoln.

“In my hearts of hearts, I didn’t want to do this,” Hart said. “I fought for six months, trying to get this done, and we got nowhere.”

Both parents and players have voiced their concerns about this decision, arguing that it could lead to significant disparities and one-sided games, thereby posing potential dangers.

“The coach resigning was terrible news, but after we looked into it, he did the right thing,” Mike Lettunich said. “The bottom teams are just going to get destroyed, run over, week after week. It’s just not fair.”

Parents started a petition against the change, which had gathered more than 500 signatures.

“Announcing my decision to the players was one of the toughest moments of my career as a coach,” Hart said. “Every member of the team holds a special place in my heart, and I deeply appreciate their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the sport.”

“Even though it was not an easy decision to make, I know it is the right one, and it is consistent with the values I have instilled in them – to always do the right thing. – Coach Aaron Hart concluded.”

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