Shoulberg: “I haven’t done anything wrong”

For the first time since leaving the pool deck almost two months ago, Germantown Academy head coach Dick Shoulberg spoke on the record to about what he’s terming a ‘leave of absence’.

“I haven’t done anything wrong, other than being 741/2 and looking people in the eye and telling them, ‘You’re wrong,’ ” Shoulberg said to the Philadelphia Enquirer. ”

“I know I’m old. But I’m efficient and old,” he said. “My girls’ team last year broke the [national] record” in the 400-yard freestyle relay.”

On November 15th, Claire Crippen and Chris Lear were officially announced to the team as interim head coaches, marking the first time since the program started in 1969 that anyone other than Shoulberg held a title of head coach for the teams.

Neither the school or Shoulberg have elaborated on the specific circumstances (we were able to confirm the interim appointments with school officials, but little else). There have been allegations of bullying and hazing within the team, and while there has been some suggestion from Germantown alumni that this is related to Shoulberg’s absence, we have been unable to draw a link between the two from any official sources.

Shoulberg’s desire to remain a part of the Germantown program is strong based upon his comments. He also told the Enquirer that “I have no desire to ever coach anywhere but GA…I’ve been offered positions – ‘Come coach with us now.’ No. I’m GA. That’s it. I’m not changing anything in my life.”

He spoke that even if it was in a reduced role from head coach, he just wanted to continue to be a part of the program that he spent over 40 years building into one of the country’s most revered high school programs.


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fight club
6 years ago

if this is your first night at fight club, you’ve got to

Mikal W. Grass
6 years ago

I don’t know the Coach, but having closely observed the machinations of a local private school and how the swimmers’ parents expect their children to be treated (solely because the parents are forking over 10s of thousands of dollars a year) it wouldn’t surprise me if a parent was offended at the way his or her child was spoken to. It also wouldn’t surprise me if GA wanted “younger” blood or if an administrator is flexing his or her muscle, only because they can.

Someone needs to follow the money.

Reply to  Mikal W. Grass
6 years ago

Mikal, as a student who currently attends to Germantown
Academy, I can tell you we aren’t really allowed to disclose
anything, but I will tell you that Shoulberg is not to blame. He
did not haze. He did not bully. You may speculate all you want but
Shoulberg helped the kids–he didn’t hurt them.

Reply to  Anonycat
6 years ago

I also go to GA. Cannot officially comment, but if anything
did happen, Shoulberg is not to blame.

Mike Gentilucci
Reply to  Mikal W. Grass
6 years ago

I’m not disagreeing with the comment about parents, I’ve
seen some of that myself, but the speculation about the
administration at GA makes no sense. Why would you want “younger
blood” when Shoulberg’s girls broke the national record last year?
Clearly he’s still effective, and clearly the administration knows
that many of the best swimmers in the region are attracted to GA
because they want to swim for Dick. The man is a legend. To the
kids below, I find the “I can’t comment” bit a bit strange. Can you
really get in trouble for speaking your mind?

Mike Gentilucci
Reply to  Mike Gentilucci
6 years ago

More I would say the today’s culture and climate have a tendency to go perhaps too far in terms of the school and the administration protecting their own ass. They’ll call it standard procedure when something like this happens. It is highly questionable however whether this was necessary, or the best thing to do for the students, but let’s be real, it’s not about the students so much is it is about protecting GA from any possible lawsuit.

s gomez
6 years ago

m. grass, i share your opinion exactly. i’ve seen similar things happen at many private schools, not necessarily with the swim coach but with coaches and teachers who are highly revered by the school and community. one more thing to add, typically a school administration doesn’t neccesarily understand swimming, and while shouldberg is a legendary swim coach in the swimming world and doing anything to scoot him out of power is viewed as blasphemous to us, we can’t expect the school to feel the same way. so yeah, interesting to see how this plays out. i hate to make the comparison, but isn’t this just the slightest bit similar to mark bernadino situation? maybe i only mention this because of… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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