HUMBOLDT – When boys practice begins next Monday, Humboldt’s Daryl Short will be back again in full swing.
But this time Short begins another season with a new title.
Short has accepted the reins as head coach of the Humboldt High boys’ basketball squad. After working at the junior varsity and ninth grade levels in recent years, Short takes over the head duties after Jason Heinz, who stepped down last spring after two years guiding the varsity.
“It will be more responsibility, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Short said.
“We have a lot of kids coming back, including seniors who are coming off a great football season. We’ll have a great nucleus of seniors to rely on for basketball,” Short said.
Short inherits a Wildcat varsity squad that posted a 12-11 overall record in 2011-2012, 11-7 and fourth in the North Central Conference.
“Having that senior leadership is critical. Maturity-wise and physically strong and they have been through the system for a few years. Having that group of kids as a base for the program gives us a great start and a great opportunity, that’s for sure,” Short said.
Short has served six years in the program at different levels. Short has served the last two years as assistant coach for Heinz, who stepped down last April. He also served as JV and freshman coach for former coach Craig Orness.
Short brings experience to the position as he has had a chance to ride the bench and see every varsity game and has helped in making the floor decisions during games and practices in recent seasons.
Short, a 1980 Humboldt High graduate, played three years for long-time coach John Westphal.
“I had great guys ahead of me to work under. We have a good base in place with the fundamentals we’ve tried to implement the last few years,” Short said. “Our offense, a five-man motion, Craig started that and the last few years we’ve refined that. I look forward to doing that this year with the seniors.”
“Having been through the system, both players and coaches, helps make that whole process flow better,” Short said. “I think we have a great base in place for this season.”
“I’m very much a believer in man-to-man defense. We will return some good shooters on this year’s team. But at the high school level, you don’t shoot 100 percent 100 percent of the time. So you have to understand that and make sure that you are playing good defense 100 percent of the time,” Short said.
“Like I told the JV kids last year, I don’t care who scores. I want us to score enough points to win, but my emphasis is on playing good defense. If we do that, we’ll be involved in every game come the fourth quarter, even if we aren’t shooting well,” Short said.
“Great defense creates opportunities to be in the game at the end. At this level, you have to have a great defense and try to build off of that with your offense,” Short said.
“I like to keep things simple. I don’t like to make things too complicated so you aren’t reacting as quickly on the floor as you should be. Just playing basketball and using your strengths,” Short said. “Knowing the fundamentals and doing them well creates a reaction that helps you maintain the fast pace of the game.”
“If you have to think all the time, you aren’t reacting like you should,” Short said.
Short’s staff is set with Scott Birdsell moving up from the freshmen team to coach the JV. Jake Mohling, a second-year teacher in the district, will coach the freshmen team.
“Coach Mohling has a basketball background and he’s picking up on things pretty quickly,” Short said. “Coach Birdsell brings back experience and has good basketball knowledge. I feel good about our staff.”
“I think we will be very competitive this year. We have a nice senior class and younger players who will blend in nicely,” Short said. "Last year we were fourth in the conference and that helps create and momentum and a good outlook for this season."