Westlake Baseball Coach Jeff Short Retiring
Young son changes longtime coach's priorities
He’s not very tall, sleeps infrequently, doesn’t speak much English and let’s out quite a wail when he’s hungry – Short’s 18-month old son, Jason, is calling all the shots these days.
And if a cute, bubbly little face can’t convince a man to put aside a 23-year coaching career at the high school, what can, right?
Short has decided this season would be his last coaching the Demons, and he leaves behind a legacy the school and his son can enjoy with great pride.
“He kind of puts a lot of things in perspective. I’ve coached my whole life. I’ve been blessed to have that opportunity to do it at Westlake. And when you do it for 23 years, it takes a lot out of you. I think I got to that point where I want to be there for my son when he gets older and grows up,” Short, 48, said.
Short, who lives with his wife, Julie, in Avon, will have a ceremony in his honor after his last regular-season home game on Friday against Olmsted Falls. Short teaches math and science at Parkside Intermediate, where he has been for 26 years.
The Demons (16-6, 8-4 in Southwest Conference) will play in the sectional round of the playoffs against a yet to be determined opponent at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. It’ll be his last playoffs. He’ll embark on a new journey leaving behind lots of people with whom he took the field.
“I’ve been blessed to have good coaches who’ve been with me for a while. And there are the relationships you build with your players. … I just got a couple of e-mails from a couple guys from 1992 who were on my team,” Short said.
Short had 19 winning seasons with three SWC Championships (1996, 2002 and 2006). The Demons have made 12 district appearances, five district final appearances and were regional qualifiers twice.
In 1996, the Demons reached the regional final which led to Short winning the Plain Dealer Coach of the Year title for that season. He’s also a three-time SWC Coach of the Year. His coaching honors garnered him an induction into the Northeast Ohio Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last year.
So would he entertain a trip back to the dugout?
Well, perhaps under one condition.
“Right now, no. I’m ready for something different. Right now, I think I’m pretty tired. And from a standpoint, I think I’d look forward to coaching my son.”
Well before Jason has a chance to see the baseball diamond, Short has learned a few things about his dietary habits. The youngster isn’t a big fan of tortilla chips, but any other kind of chips will do.
“He’s got his chips,” Short said. “He’s ready to go today.”