LM alum leading Parkland Fla. team to playoffs

Posted on: October 24, 2019
photo of student

LM alumni Quentin Short

With a victory on a Florida football field tonight (Oct. 24), a Little Miami High School grad will complete what could be described as a divine mission.

Class of 1995 alum Quentin Short is the head football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Short’s team is currently 7-0 and with a victory tonight over Coral Glades, the Eagles will capture the Florida District 13-8A championship, their first since 2001. A win will also cement a play-off berth, their first since 2007. Short’s strong leadership in propelling his team to an undefeated season also just garnered him District Coach of the Year honors this week.

For any coach, meeting with this kind of success in your first year as head coach is like a dream come true. But for Short, and the community of Parkland, this exciting season has been about much, much more than football.

“The buzz has been amazing. This the first something positive that has happened since the shooting,” he said. “We are just taking a hold of something good and the community is really behind it.”

If it wasn’t for what occurred on Feb. 14, 2018, Short might not be leading the Eagles. That day, a former student armed with a rifle opened fire inside the school, killing 17. MSD’s previous head football coach Willis May resigned this past March, citing the pain of losing athletic director Chris Hixon and assistant football coach Aaron Feis in the attack. Feis was killed while shielding students from the gunman.

photo of football team

Football players from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., celebrate their Homecoming victory in September.

Short, who was an MSD assistant coach at the time, was named head coach of a team that had gone 5-5 the previous year, and a leader of players who were survivors of the unthinkable. And so he went to work.

The Eagles got off to their best start in school history this season, rolling over teams like West Broward in a huge 36-0 homecoming victory. Short’s team even pulled out a literal last second 30-26 victory against another unbeaten squad, the Monarch Knights, after a dropped snap for a game-winning field goal became a touchdown instead.

“This year our whole culture has changed,” senior wide receiver Christian Higgins told a Parkland Talk reporter. “We are playing as a unit this year. We are playing more as a team this year. It’s not just me. It’s everyone else on this team that has contributed.”

Although he is quick to credit the help he has gotten from players like Higgins, senior tight end Ryan Belk, a Yale commit, and from several others who are getting attention from Division I schools, Short does credit things he learned at back home as helping him this season.

Short was a three-sport athlete at Little Miami, playing under football coach Tim Martin, basketball coach Rob Blanton and baseball coach Mike Gentry.

“The most important thing I learned from them and that I try to instill in my players is the work ethic,” Short said. “Being accountable, showing up and doing the hard work.”

And he admits to using a catchphrase or two from his LM coaches.

“We used to make fun of him for saying it, but I’m saying Coach Martin’s ‘Here we go!’ all of the time,” Short said.

He was a sophomore when the Panthers football team went 10-0 in 1992, and he remembers the excitement that went along with that undefeated season. And now, Quentin Short has led his team to their own undefeated season, and has helped to create new indelible memories for a group of young men and a community who have plenty.

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