Rachael Short inherited a program in its infancy when she was hired to lead the Middle Tennessee women's golf program, Dec. 2001, but it has not taken long for the consummate professional to build a consistent winner and turn the Blue Raiders into challengers on the links.
One of the brightest young coaches in the collegiate game, Short enters her sixth season at Middle Tennessee following a sterling prep career at nearby Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro as well as a solid collegiate career at the University of Alabama.
Kim St. John coached Middle Tennessee in five tournaments during the fall of 2001 before leaving for a position in Minnesota. The vacancy proved to be the beginning of a bright future for Middle Tennessee's women's golf program and Short, who's hiring began her first stint as a collegiate head coach. Short, 29, took her first head coaching position at the college level with a winning attitude. She set lofty goals and recruited the type of players necessary to achieve them. It didn't take long for the hard-working and dedicated coach to take a program she built from its infancy and make it competitive.
Following her fourth year at Middle Tennessee, Short was honored as Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year (2005) and became the first Blue Raider golf coach to be so honored - men or women - after her Blue Raiders turned in nine Top 5 finishes (out of 10 tournaments).
That Middle Tennessee has made such tremendous strides in a "Short" time frame should come as no surprise. Having won at every level of her golf career, Short had a plan for success at Middle Tennessee, and the blueprint has worked to perfection.
She has recruited quality players and then shown a tremendous knack for developing them. Junior standout Taryn Durham is a perfect example. Under Short's tutelage, Durham won the Sun Belt Conference as a sophomore and is a two-time All-SBC performer. She's also finished first in two other tournaments.
When Short took the job at Middle Tennessee, her goal was for the team to finish in the Top 5 of every tournament in which it participated. Some would call that a rather lofty goal for such a young program with young players; however, Short's hard work and outstanding eye for talent has made the goal attainable.
Entering the spring of 2007, Short's teams have garnered 34 Top 5 finishes in 51 tournaments. Middle Tennessee has enjoyed three tournament championships during this impressive run.
In the spring of 2002, Short helped lead the Lady Raiders to their best finish ever in the season's first tournament: third-place at the Lady Eagle Invitational. Later in the season, she helped guide Tamara Munsch to a victory in the Chris Banister Classic, which marked the program's first-ever medalist finish.
During the 2002-03 season, Short and the Lady Raiders continued to show their improvement by placing a program-best second at the Memphis Women's Intercollegiate and again at the Lady Eagle Invitational. In 2003-04, Short guided Middle Tennessee to a program-best third place finish at the Sun Belt Conference Championship, and the best was still to come.
Short led the Blue Raiders to nine straight Top 5 finishes in 2005-06 to go along with the program's first-ever tournament victory when they captured the Lady Jaguar Invitational. They capped the strong season with a third-place showing in the Sun Belt Conference Golf Championships.
Short, a former standout golfer at the University of Alabama, is in her sixth year as a coach at any level. Coaching, however, is a natural for this Murfreesboro native. Her father, Keith Short, was a veteran mid-state high school girl's basketball coach for 22 years and coached girl's golf at White County High School and Riverdale High School. Short has been exposed to coaching all her life either in a gym or on a golf course.
Short enjoyed a standout prep career at Murfreesboro's Riverdale High School, where she captured the AAA State Championship in 1994 and was runner-up in 1993. The Nashville Banner's 1994 Player of the Year, Short was a two-time all-state performer, while setting the Old Fort Golf Course record with a 66. One of the highlights of her career came during her high school playing days when she was invited to play with U.S. Open Champion Tom Kite at the Legends Golf Club on National Golf Day. Short, who was also a standout basketball player, birdied the one hole she played with Kite.
As a collegian, Short participated for the Crimson Tide from 1995-to-99 and was the team's co-captain in 1998-99. During her four years at Alabama, Short was a member of two teams that appeared in the NCAA Regionals and won two regular-season tournaments. Coached by Betty Palmer, Short and the Crimson Tide were consistently ranked in the nation's Top 25. One of her more memorable highlights was finishing seventh overall at the 1998 SEC Championship.
Short earned her fitness management degree from the University of Alabama in August of 1999, and is working on her master's degree at Middle Tennessee.
Following her collegiate career, Short spent 1999 doing an internship at the Golf Club of Tennessee. In 2000, she became the assistant professional at Richland Country Club in Nashville.