Short remembered by many
Former Lackey Principal, CCPS coach Short dies, remembered by many
Father figure, coach, role model, mentor, friend and all-around great guy with a powerful and caring demeanor.
Those are just a few words and descriptions that come to mind when people think about Dr. James Short Sr.
The former Lackey High School Principal and coach for Charles County Public Schools died March 21 at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata.
Short, who impacted so many lives in the county over the years was 58 years old, was memorialized at Lackey on March 25.
“First and foremost he was a father and he was an example of what a father should be,” said Short’s son, James II, a 1999 McDonough High School graduate. “What a lot of people didn’t know is that he worked three jobs, coach, teach and still made time to be there for the family and help get me through school or get to practices. He believed in hard work and being a student of the game. He had a blueprint of helping student-athletes reach their goals and he was very direct and had no cut cards.”
Though Short’s demeanor and genuine personality was well known, the 1977 Lackey graduate once was a standout three-sport athlete in basketball, football and tennis. He went on to play quarterback and wide receiver at the
University of Richmond.
During his senior year of high school, Short was an All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference first-team selection for basketball and football and was named SMAC Most Outstanding Player for basketball. leading the basketball team to backto-back SMAC championships in his junior and senior years with the Chargers.
Short started his teaching career at Thomas Stone in 1987 and during his time there was the school’s athletic director, head football and track and field and junior varsity boys, girls basketball coach before working as an administrator for 13 years at Blair High School in Montgomery County where he was also a head football coach from 1995 to 2003.
Short’s passing hit home for many, including his former players and students.
Scott Stewart, a 1988 Stone graduate, played varsity basketball for the Cougars for two seasons before heading to play at NCAA Division II’s North Carolina Central.
“He was a life saver for me because I really didn’t have a father figure like him,” Stewart said. “He showed me so much love and took it to another level. He stayed on my back, which was something I needed. He saw the potential I had because he saw the impact I had on others. As I got older, I realized how the impact he had on other people. He taught me the four keys of success, which are hard work, commitment, love and respect. I always follow those keys to help the youth today.”
Mark Dunn, a 1994 Stone graduate, was a three-sport athlete who played on the varsity football team for Short and went on to play at North Carolina as a safety and linebacker.
“Coach Short was the first person to tell me that I could play college football,” Dunn said. “He was a role model and a professional. He showed us preparation to be mentally and physically strong on and off the field. He always cared and took us to football camps and called college coaches on his behalf. Going into my senior year I had over 30 college offers.”
Nate Collins, one of Short’s former assistants for several seasons at Stone and Blair, noted that his longtime friend for over 30 years will be sorely missed.
“He was such an honest person and he put a lot of kids in school,” Collins said. “We traveled to schools all over the country to take kids to college visits. His former players in Charles and Montgomery County still model themselves after him and use all the life lessons that he taught them.”
Short took over as Lackey’s Principal from 2008 to 2015 where he worked with staff and the school community in efforts to uphold high expectations set forth at the school and to prepare students to be in college and career ready.
Short’s relationship with student-athletes over the years was the real deal. In other words, the kids loved Short, and he loved them. Student-athletes would wander to Short’s office at times to simply shoot the breeze or seek advice and he was always there and willing, to lend an open ear for those in need, and was quite capable of balancing the dayto-day pressures of being a coach, athletic director or Principal with the “people” side of life.
In early January 2017, Short was inducted into the Lackey Athletic Hall of Fame and was currently working as the director of hearings officer and court liaison at the Charles County Board of Education.
“Everyone I know loved working for Mr. Short. He was a visionary with ideas and plans on how to improve the school every day,” Lackey athletic director Tony Mast said. “He never stood still, always pushing to move the school and the kids forward each and every day. He made coming to work every day fun and exciting. His passion for the kids became contagious.”
Short is survived by his wife, Beverly, and children, James, Jennifer, Jennell, along with grandson Gabriel, and a host of other relatives and friends.
Former Lackey High School Principal Dr. James Short Sr. died March 21 at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata. Short impacted numerous student-athletes over the years in Charles County County Public Schools.