Longtime Shorter University head baseball coach Matt Larry has accepted the head job at Darlington School, the university announced Tuesday. Larry, a former Shorter diamond standout and 1993 graduate, spent 12 years as the Hawks` head coach after nine previous seasons as an assistant.

`I am forever indebted to Coach Larry and the example he set for all of us at Shorter University,` said Shorter Interim Athletic Director Matt Green. `Matt showed us all what it meant to be a servant leader. His teams competed at the highest levels on the field and in the classroom, and for that we are proud. But they also demonstrated a commitment to the Rome community and were frontrunners in welcoming the community onto the Hill – for that, we are forever grateful.

`We wish Matt and his incredible family the very best in their new journey and hope that he remains a huge part of not only our baseball program, but also our Shorter Athletics family.`

`This is truly one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make; not only because of the love I have for the University, but because of the many great people and students I have had the opportunity to work alongside for so many years,` Larry said. `A piece of my heart will always remain at Shorter and I cannot express in words how fortunate I am to have been given the opportunity to work here all these years.`

In addition to his success on the field, Larry is highly regarded for his commitment to the Rome and Floyd County community.

Under Larry, Shorter Baseball hosted countless annual community service and engagement events, including Military Appreciation Day, Mal`s Pals Day and Striking Out Breast Cancer, in addition to serving the community through youth baseball clinics and partnering with local elementary schools for events such as Red Ribbon Week.

For the team`s commitment to service, Larry and the Hawks were named the 2010 NAIA National Champions of Character Team.

Larry has been a part of Shorter Baseball and the university community for over 20 years and helped continue what is one of the proudest program traditions in the state of Georgia.

He won a conference championship as a player in 1991 and helped Shorter to a District 25 runner-up finish as a senior in 1992, earning All-Conference and All-District honors that season as a catcher.

As an assistant, Larry was the architect behind Shorter`s 1998 and 2003 conference championship teams before taking over as head coach in 2004. The Hawks won 40 games for the first time in 30 years in 2011 and advanced to the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Shorter`s final NAIA season in 2012. Larry guided Shorter to an NCCAA South Region title in 2014.

The search for a new head baseball coach will begin immediately.