Sports, University News

Diane Short steps down after 25 seasons

Short took over in 1993, led the Bears to three Ivy League titles, two NCAA tournament appearances

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, November 16, 2017

When Diane Short took over the volleyball team in 1993, only three student-athletes showed up to join the team. The program had just regained varsity status after being demoted in 1991, and Short had to employ some creative tactics to field her inaugural squad.

“I showed up at freshman orientation and recruited a team,” Short said. “If they went for the ball, I’d take them. … That was a fun team because they worked so hard, but we weren’t great. The following year, we recruited eight freshmen and started building the program.”

Twenty-five seasons later, Short is stepping down from her role as head coach, but her impact on the program will outlast her retirement.

“I had not really premeditated this,” Short said. “It was presented to me, and I accepted it. Brown has been really good to me, and, even after I’m gone, Brown will still be helping me,” with potential employment opportunities in the future.

“It was kind of a spur of the moment decision,” she added.

“Brown volleyball is pretty synonymous with her because she’s been here for the last 25 years,” said team co-captain Melissa Cairo ’18. “All of us owe our careers at Brown to her. She has definitely established the program.”

After winning a state championship while coaching at her former high school and serving three seasons as the assistant coach at Providence College, Short was given the responsibility of reviving Brown volleyball. In 1994, she stated that she would win an conference title in three years and delivered on that promise, claiming the crown two seasons later along with a trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.

Short took the Bears back to the NCAAs with a second Ivy championship win in 1998 and notched her third conference title in 2001. She produced three Ivy Players of the Year, two Ivy Rookies of the Year and 27 All-Ivy League players. But her influence on the teams she coached went beyond the accolades.

“Coach Short has the most amazing outlook on life,” wrote Shirin Tooloee ’18 in an email to The Herald. “She’s fearless and lives every day to the fullest. Even when faced with adversity, she handles herself so well, and she’s been such an inspiration to us.”

Though she primarily offered guidance on the court, Short understood her athletes were also students and encouraged them to pursue whatever academic path they chose.

“She allowed each of us to not only be the kind of athletes we wanted to be but the students we wanted to be (as well),” Cairo said. “She really allowed us to try to reach our full potential as an athlete and a student, and I will be forever grateful for that.”

While she won’t necessarily miss the five-hour bus rides to Cornell or the 7 a.m. workouts, Short will miss the she time spent with her assistant coaches and players. But her time off the court may be brief, as she isn’t “burnt out” on coaching at all.

“I thoroughly love coaching, and I’m going to coach again,” she said. “I love the sport so much that it doesn’t matter what level I coach. I still enjoy just being in the gym. In a way, I feel like Superwoman in the gym.”

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