The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

May 17, 2013

Short selected as McDonald County coach

Blake Short, who’s been in the system for five years, has been promoted to head girls varsity basketball coach at McDonald County High School.

LaDonna McClain recently stepped down after five years at the helm of the Class 4 Mustangs.

Short, who’ll be 28 on May 28, had served as junior varsity coach for two seasons and the ninth-grade coach for three.

Short said that Ashlie Martin, who’s been the freshman coach, will move up to the junior varsity. Athletic director John Whitehead is looking for a freshman coach, Short said.

The 6-foot-1 Short, a 2003 graduate of McDonald County, played basketball and golf at Evangel University. Short also has a master’s degree from Arkansas State University of Jonesboro.

“We have our offseason going,” Short said. “I’m looking forward to next season. Definitely, I enjoy it (coaching). I like this group. I’m excited.

“We’ll go to team camp (this summer) at Pittsburg State. We also will attend the Webb City Shootout.

“I’ll move to the high school (from White Rock) and teach freshman health,” Short said.

“I enjoyed working with Coach McClain,” Short said. “I learned a lot. She’s helped prepare me for this step.”

Independent McDonald County reached the first round in the MSHSAA playoffs in 2011-12.

“We struggled a lot last season,” Short said. “But I believe there are some things that can be fixed to put us in position to be successful.

“I believe we have five players that picked up starting experience,” Short said. “Pres-lea Reece (who’ll be a 6-foot-2 junior) and Courtni Smith (5-7 senior) started full time.”

McDonald County will join the Big 8 Conference in the 2014-15 season, Short noted.

“We’ll be playing more teams out of the Big 8 Conference this coming season,” Short said.

It’s possible that Short won’t have two of his leading fans for some games this season. His parents Lisa and Mark, a pastor, live in Newburgh, Ind., just east of Evansville.

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