The winningest coach of any sport in Washington history with a 744-283-1 record, Heather Tarr has led Washington Softball to seven appearances in the Women’s College World Series, including winning the national championship in 2009. A four-year Husky letter-winner, she became Softball’s head coach in 2005 and has been part of 23 of Washington’s 30 seasons of Softball. She also serves as head coach of the U.S. Under-19 National Softball Team.
Describe the differences in resources that Softball players enjoy today compared to what you experienced in the 1990s at the UW.
We have our own locker room and indoor practice facility now! We didn’t have anywhere to practice indoors when I was a student-athlete and also had no access to nutrition support, training table meals, technology for training, nothing like that. I remember having academic advisors, but nowhere near the extensive opportunities for tutors and career development that student-athletes have today. Even 20 years after Title IX was passed, I was a walk-on in 1993 and didn’t earn a scholarship until my senior year. I lived at home in Redmond so I could afford to go to school at the UW. Now, with Title IX, scholarships are more equitable.
You played on Washington’s first-ever Women’s College World Series team in 1996. What is your most compelling memory of that experience?
The second game of the championship series, the Husky Marching Band showed up unexpectedly and we heard them from behind the fence. For the rest of series, the band was with us. That gave us a lot of confidence. Bands went to football and bowl games! It meant that we were as important as football. The World Series even had to create protocols for bands from there on out because a band had never come before. I look back to those days and know that our team and our coaches built the foundation to continue to succeed to this day. A lot of it was because of Title IX. People were being held accountable for creating opportunity.
What’s the most important thing you want donors to know?
Their support, no matter how much they’re able to donate, gives us a tremendous amount of confidence to know there are so many people behind us financially and emotionally.
What’s something about you that most people would find unexpected?
I used to be a ski instructor and I thought I’d be a professional ski racer. I majored in geography and wanted to be a cartographer and design maps. I like to create things, to draw and design things, and to make videos and movies.