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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2006 > Coach's Box - March 2006 > Heather Tarr

Heather Tarr


Volume I, No. 3

   March 2006


From Little League All-Star to College Head Coach, Heather Tarr Learned to Respect the Game at an Early Age
By Chris Downs
Media Relations Manager
Little League International

Heather Tarr

In only her second season as head softball coach at the University of Washington, Heather Tarr has the Huskies nationally-ranked, and has garnered the admiration of her players, and peers in the coaching ranks, for the respect she has for the game.

Coach Tarr, 31, is experienced beyond her years. First picking up a ball glove at age seven, the Redmond, Wash., native quickly caught the eye of her coaches in the Redmond South Little League (RSLL).

By the time she was 12 years old, Coach Tarr was playing first base for RSLL’s major division baseball International Tournament team that reached the Western Region Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif.

“I thought baseball was my thing,” Coach Tarr said. “At that time I really thought I was going to be the first girl to play Major League Baseball. I hit a couple of home runs when I was 12, including a grand slam after the other team walked in a run with the bases loaded to pitch to me.”

During her Little League days, Coach Tarr’s team was managed by Tom D’Amico and her father, Vic. With admiration for both coaches, she credits them with planting the coaching seed in her mind.

Heather Tarr, right, head coach of the University of Washington Huskies softball team, played Little League in Redmond South Little League in Redmond, Wash.

“I always wanted to coach from the time I got into high school,” Coach Tarr said. “The Little League experience was so rooted in my being that it gives me a ton of confidence even today. I was taught to respect the game at an early age, because the games are games, and even if we didn’t have success to always remember the fun.”

Coach Tarr switched over to softball in her teenage years and played on an inter-league team with Kirkland, (Wash.) Little League. Two years later, she was a key player on the Kirkland Little League team that won the 1993 Big League Softball World Series.

“I had to change over to softball at age 15, because the guys got bigger and stronger,” Coach Tarr said. “(At Kirkland Little League) I was coached by Daryl Parker and Terry Merritt who really knew the game and connected my baseball skills and athleticism to the game of fast-pitch softball.”

Following her graduation from Redmond High School in 1993, Coach Tarr stayed close to home, attended the University of Washington. While working toward a degree in geography, Coach Tarr found success on and off the softball field, including recognition as a three-year member of the Pac-10 All-Academic team (1994-97) and the Pac-10 All-Conference team (1995-97).

Coach Tarr, a four-year letter winner, was instrumental in the Huskies’ run to the College Softball World Series in 1996 and 1997, finishing second and third respectively. In 1997, Coach Tarr played a season in the Women’s Professional Fast-Pitch Softball League for the Tampa Bay Fire Stix.

“I wanted to play in college and playing Big League softball gave me the chance to compete and be the best,” Coach Tarr said. “I attribute all of my wanting to coach with the game of Little League. Those were the favorite times of my life.”

Coach Tarr, a graduate of the University of Washington, was a member of the 1993 Big League Softball World Series championship team from Kirkland (Wash.) Little League.

Graduating in 1998, Coach Tarr quickly joined the coaching ranks, working as an undergraduate coaching assistant for the Huskies during the 1998 season that concluded with another third-place finish at the College Softball World Series.

Coach Tarr moved on to University of the Pacific in 1999 as an assistant coach. At Pacific for six seasons, she was elevated to associate head softball coach before returning to her alma mater in 2004 as head coach. While at Pacific, she attained a master’s degree in education.

In two seasons as Huskies head coach, Coach Tarr has amassed a record of 50-28, and this year the team (19-6) is currently ranked 15th in the nation. In 2005, the University of Washington finished 35-22 and was one win away from advancing to the College Softball World Series.

“I think softball is faster (than baseball) and that makes it stand out,” Coach Tarr said. “It means more when you can dominate your ‘own’ sport, and it makes softball more attractive.”

Marrying her professional success with the foundation that Little League provided, Coach Tarr is generous to Little League coaches in the same way her coaches volunteered their time, effort and expertise.

Coach Tarr has conducted and contributed to coaching clinics for Little League softball volunteers, and next month (April 22, Oregon State vs. Washington) she and the Huskies will host a “Little League Softball Day.”

This “Little League Softball Day” is one of several similar events to be held at colleges across the United States. Little Leaguers, their parents and local league volunteers may attend a regular-season college softball game free of charge. The players will come dressed in their Little League uniform jerseys, and following the game will be permitted on to the field to meet the collegiate players and coaches.

“When I played the community aspect made the experience what it was,” Coach Tarr said. “Little League was competitive and the coaching was tremendous, but it was always fun and community-oriented.”

Those memories resonate for Coach Tarr who is so proud of her Little League heritage that one of the first moves she made after taking over the Husky softball program was to hire former Redmond South Little League teammate, Geoff Hirai as an assistant coach.

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