“This season has truly been a blessing,” Coach Shorter said “I was blessed with a group of dedicated coaches and players. We had one goal at the beginning of the season and that was to become 4-A state champions.”
But the team started the season off with a couple of challenges – losing their first two games to 5-A and 6-A teams. After those two losses, people began to count the team out as contenders for the State Championship. Coach Shorter said it was through “grace and never-ending faith” that the team went on to become 4-A champs with a 14-2 record.
Shorter has always loved football and his own football career started at a very young age.
“The first time I saw a football, I was hooked,” Shorter said. “I started playing in a community pee wee league, then on to play jr. high, high school, college, and the professional league.
He was in training camp for the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers and played a year with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, before injuries caused him to make the decision to end his professional career.
“This was a very humbling time in my life,” Shorter said. “Although I was extremely disappointed, I came to the realization that God had a greater purpose for my life and that was coaching. My passion for football intensified even more and the vision became very clear. It wasn’t the end of my career, but only the beginning. The Lord had placed me in the position to use the skills and knowledge that I had gained as a player– to touch the lives of others as a coach.”
Holli Jenkins, Director of Athletics for the Noxubee County School District, said Coach Shorter is dedicated to the success of his students.
“He is very caring,” Jenkins said. “He has the ability to reach those students otherwise unreachable. He has a great rapport with the parents and the community. Not only is he active with the students on the field, he’s active with them off the field. He meets with the students and teachers to ensure their success in the classroom.”
Shorter grew up in a Christian family. His grandparents taught him about “the love of Jesus Christ and all His glory.” Shorter accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at an early age and, as an adult, he has continued to stay true to his Christian values.
With this in mind, Coach Shorter established certain rituals for his team. One of the most important one was to have “Team Bible Study” every Wednesday. The other one was to worship together as a team, so on Sundays, the team began taking turns visiting each other’s churches.
“This has helped to build so much character and discipline with the team, not to mention the fact that the guys have strengthened their relationship with God,” Shorter said. “I am truly blessed and honored that the Lord has entrusted me with one of his most precious gifts – his children. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I can’t imagine myself without the love of God.”
Shorter is a member of New Hope United Methodist Church in Macon. Rev. Rickey Lawson and the New Hope UMC family, recently invited Shorter and the 4-A State Champion Tigers to join them in worship, and afterwards they sponsored big dinner to celebrate their accomplishments. The church members also donated $1,000 toward championship rings for the team.
“Coach Shorter, a member of New Hope, strives to visit the churches of the players during the year,” said Rev. Lawson. “He says that the football program is not just about football, but a total growth package for the players.”
Starkville District Superintendent Dr. Embra Jackson said he believes that coaches, in many cases, follow the model that is uplifted throughout the Bible. Jackson said examples are evidenced by Elijah and Elisha, Naomi and Ruth, Paul and Timothy and Barnabas and Mark.
“With so much emphasis on sports in our society it is very important that young persons who engage in sports are led by persons who are spiritual leaders who are grounded in their faith,” Jackson said. “We are so very proud of the relationship that Coach Shorter has with his Noxubee High School 4-A Class Championship football players at Noxubee High School. As an active member of the New Hope United Methodist Church, Coach Shorter serves as a role model for his players.”
Coach Shorter said members of New Hope UMC exemplify the term “church family” in every aspect.
“They are a God-centered body of believers who praise and glorify God through love, worship, and service,” Shorter said. “They are a wonderful group of Christians who supports our football team 100 percent.”
For more information on Shorter and 4-A State Champion Tiger Team from Noxubee County High School, go to http://www.noxcnty.k12.ms.us.
See this story in the February 20, 2015 edition of The Starkville District Newsletter at 2-23-15 newsletter