Mike Short, 47, is the new head football coach for the St. Cloud Bulldogs. The school named Short less than month after announcing that former Head Coach Bryan Smart was stepping down to become the school’s new Athletics Director.
Short returned to St. Cloud last year as the team’s offensive coordinator after spending one season as assistant football coach and head wrestling coach at Richardson High in Texas.
“Our time table was to get a new head coach in place before the start of spring football,” current Athletics Director Eric Godfrey, who is stepping down on June 1 to assume another administrative position at the school. “From the start, we had a lot of interest in the position. We brought in eight outstanding candidates in for interviews and all of them did a great job. But at the end of the day, Coach Short’s enthusiasm for coaching and his passion and love of St. Cloud High set him above the others.”
The selection committee included Godfrey, as well as incoming Athletics Director Smart. “Coach Short brings a ton of football experience to the post,” Smart said. “In 20+ years of coaching he has been an offensive and defensive coordinator and has been a head coach in the past. But more importantly he knows our kids, our community and the culture of St. Cloud High School. I know he’s going to do a good job.”
Short said he was excited about taking over the Bulldog program. “First I need to thank Principal Fancher, Assistant Principal Wrona, Director Godfrey and Bryan for entrusting me to be the next head coach at St. Cloud,” Short said. “Obviously I am excited about becoming the head coach again, but you won’t see any major changes between my way and Bryan’s way of doing things. Coach Smart did such a great job at getting the players to buy in to what he wanted to do and they played hard, both every play and every game. That’s certainly a blueprint that any coach would want to copy.”
He added that he was excited to be taking over a young team. St. Cloud was hit hard by graduation after the 2020 season and serious injuries and other issues led to a decimated team that scored just 14 points and went 1-4 in its first five games. But the team rallied for a 2-2 finish, including a major 31-30 upset over arch-rival Harmony in the season finale. “Quarterback Logan King gained an incredible amount of experience as a freshman last year, taking many snaps and starting most of the second half of the season,” Smart said. “We have a bunch of young players, including some skill players, coming back. It should be fun coaching them and watching them develop.”
Short brings two-and-a half decades of coaching experience to the position. In addition to the year at Richardson, He spent two different stints at East River (Orlando), splitting three years as an offensive coordinator and one as defensive coordinator, with one season as an assistant coach at Lake Howell. Short was head coach at Colonial High School for 2013-15; as well as the offensive coordinator at West Orange in 2012. He spent three years at St. Cloud from 2009 to 2011 as both an assistant and head coach. Prior to that he was the freshman football coach and wrestling coach at Gateway from 2006-08 and also spent three seasons at Southern Lee in North Carolina as an offensive coordinator and head wrestling coach.
As the Head Coach at St. Cloud for the first half of the 2011 season, it was Short who hired Smart as a young assistant coach out of college. “I would not be here at St. Cloud if it wasn’t for Mike,” Smart said. “It’s funny that a dozen years later I’m on the committee that hiring him to replace me. But that association had nothing to do with this selection. The entire committee felt he was the right man at the right time to take over our program.”
In addition to becoming head football coach, Short plans on retaining his job as the school’s head wrestling coach.