Dale Short begins his 20th year at the helm of the Blue Raider tennis program having guided the program to 11 conference championships and eight NCAA Team Championship appearances during his tenure at his alma mater.
The Blue Raiders have advanced to the NCAA Team Championships in eight of the last 12 seasons and made it to the second round for the second time in school history in 2002. Middle Tennessee claimed its first Sun Belt Conference championship in 2005 and has finished second in the very competitive league three times in six seasons.
The Blue Raiders have earned NCAA appearances four times since joining the Sun Belt before the 2001 season, earning 11 singles and eight doubles all-conference honors during the six-year stretch. Former Blue Raider Daniel Klemetz played in three straight NCAA Singles Championships from 2001-03. Current Blue Raider Andreas Siljestrom participated in the Singles Championships in 2006, while Siljestrom and doubles partner Marco Born have played in the past two NCAA Doubles Championships, reaching the semifinals in 2006.
The Blue Raiders success did not start six years ago. In 1991, under Short's direction, Middle Tennessee tennis began a 10-year reign of dominance over the Ohio Valley Conference. Year after year, the Blue Raiders continued to pound conference opposition. With the move to the Sun Belt Conference, Short ended his 13 years in the OVC with an unbelievable conference record of 87-6.
Short capped the school's tenure in the OVC with his 10th consecutive regular season title and ninth tournament championship in 2000. The coach was honored for the eighth time in his career as the OVC Coach of the Year.
Even without the help of an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, Short was putting both his team, as well as individual players, into the NCAA Championships by 1994. The 1994 season marked the first time a Blue Raider tennis player qualified for the NCAA Championships when Paul Goebel and Fred Niemeyer made the field in doubles.
The following year, Middle Tennessee made its first-ever appearance in an NCAA Regional, in Gainesville, Fla. In 1996, the Blue Raiders earned a No. 2 seed but were upset in the first round by Alabama in Baton Rouge, La.
The 1997 campaign marked the first win in an NCAA tournament match in school history when the Blue Raiders defeated Florida International as the No. 2 seed in Gainesville, Fla. Middle Tennessee dropped its second round match to Alabama for the second year in a row.
That same year, a school-record four individual players earned berths in the NCAA Tournament, with Niemeyer obtaining the No. 2 seed in singles. Also in 1997, the team earned the highest ranking ever for a Division I sport at Middle Tennessee when Short led his team to a No. 4 national ranking. The Blue Raiders finished the season ranked 17th.
Individuals have made the NCAA Singles or Doubles Championships in 10 of the past 13 seasons, including 1994-98, 2001-03 and 2005-06.
Five times during his tenure, Short has had doubles teams ranked in the Top 10 in the country, including a pair of tandems in the fall of 2005. The doubles tandem of David McNamara and Julius Robberts gave the school its first tennis national title, claiming the 1997 ITA Reebok All-American Hardcourt Championships in Austin, Texas, one of three Collegiate Grand Slam events each year. Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom added to the total in the fall of 2005, claiming the Polo Ralph Lauren ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Daniel Klemetz also claimed the singles title at the 2002 Icy Hot/ITA All-American Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn.
During his 19 years at the helm, Short has coached eight All-Americans and one Region III Senior Player of the Year. He has had 49 individuals earn all-conference honors, including all six starters from the 1997 team and nearly the entire team in 1998, when eight Blue Raiders earned all-conference accolades. Eight of his players have been named conference Player of the Year and Kai Schledorn earned Sun Belt Tournament MVP honors in 2005.
Short's ties to Middle Tennessee began almost 30 years ago with a successful playing career in the Blue and White.
Short earned All-OVC honors as a player at Middle Tennessee in both 1979 and 1980 and was named OVC Player of the Year as a senior. During his playing career, he compiled a 60-25 record, a winning percentage of .706 that still ranks fifth all-time at Middle Tennessee.
When the OVC celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1988, he was named to the league's all-time tennis team. He was nationally ranked as both a junior player and collegian.
A versatile athlete, Short was a state champion in cross-country and finished sixth nationally while a senior at Murfreesboro's Oakland High School, where he graduated in 1976.
During the summer of 2001, Short was inducted into the Blue Raider Hall Fame for his accomplishments as a player and as one of the top tennis coaches in the nation.
Short is the director of the Tennessee Junior Qualifying Championships and has served on the Tennessee Tennis Association Junior Committee. He was a member of the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Regional Advisory and Selection Committee and chairman of the Southeast (NCAA Region III) Coaches Committee.
Short reached a coaching milestone by picking up his 200th victory as the men's head coach in a win over Tennessee State during the 1999 season. Short picked up his 300th career victory in 2002 at the University of San Diego and stands 370-220 as a head coach.
From 1991-94, Short served as the head coach for the women's program and promptly led the women to three straight OVC Championships. His record as the women's head coach stands at 63-28.
Short's family was named Florida's Tennis Family of the Year in 1983. His late grandfather, Gene, won more than 20 national senior titles, while his late stepmother was a two-time world junior champion and was ranked among the top five players in the world professionally at one time.
Originally from Miami, Fla., Short starred at Oakland High School and is married to the former Ava Florida. They have two children, Trevor and Britni.