After 332 wins, 22 seasons and three Southwestern Conference championships, Westlake High School’s varsity baseball coach Jeff Short is now in the Northeast Ohio Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Short began his coaching career with the Demons in 1990. He lives in Avon with his wife, Avon Patch parenting columnist Julie Short, and their son.
Short quickly turned the team around and has only had two losing seasons since 1994.
Given those numbers, Short makes it look easy, but building winning teams season after season is far from easy.
“We’ve built a tradition at Westlake that enables the kids to believe that they’re going to win,” he said. “It’s a mixture of talent and kids that, I think, believe in what you’re teaching them.”
However, after two decades of coaching high school ball, Short is more interested in the lessons, big or small, that he’s teaching his players.
“After all these years, you stop putting as much emphasis on championships or titles and begin to ask yourself why you coach year after year,” he said. “The answer is to make a difference in these kids’ lives.
"If the players have an enjoyable experience and learn how to compete and be passionate about life and the game and handling adversity, then you’ve truly succeeded as a coach.”