Redmond native Heather Tarr enters her 16th season as the University of Washington softball head coach. Courtesy of Red Box Photography

Redmond native Heather Tarr enters her 16th season as the University of Washington softball head coach. Courtesy of Red Box Photography

‘I just had great teachers and great coaches growing up’

Redmond’s Tarr coaching strong at University of Washington.

Preseason rankings may look nice, but they’re not what matters to University of Washington softball head coach Heather Tarr.

The Redmond native’s squad was ranked first in the Pac-12 and by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and second by USA Softball at press time. UW rolled out to a 5-0 record with victories at the Buzz Classic in Atlanta, Georgia, before taking on the University of Central Florida and teams at the St. Pete Clearwater Elite Invitational in Florida after the Reporter’s deadline.

“In the end, we wanna win and prove that we’re the No. 1 team by the end of the year, but right now, that’s not really anything that we can concern ourselves with,” said Tarr, whose goal is “trying to develop a team to be the best version of itself by the end of the season.”

Redmond High graduate Kaija Gibson enters her senior season with the Huskies and nailed a two-RBI triple during the first run of games. Tarr tagged Gibson as a steady competitor who returns as a starter at first base and in the outfield.

“She’s just overall a great student of the game, an awesome teammate and becoming one of the best Huskies that we’ve had in just terms of leadership and who she is as a person and a student,” said Tarr, who graduated from Redmond High in 1993.

Redmond’s Amirah Milloy played with the Huskies in recent years and Mustang senior catcher Jennifer Cummings will join the UW squad next season.

“We know the academics are strong at Redmond, so that’s a given, I know the school,” said Tarr, adding that Gibson began her affiliation with UW as a bat girl and then attended Husky camps.

Before starring for and then coaching the Huskies to a national championship in 2009 and much more — including 600-plus victories and counting as she rolls into her 16th season — Tarr played softball, baseball, volleyball, basketball, soccer and attended a ski school as a youth in Redmond. As a high-schooler, she helped the Mustangs win a state slow-pitch championship.

Tarr credits former Redmond High coaches Jeannine Ewing and Kara Peterson for helping pave her path into the coaching realm.

“I just had great teachers and great coaches growing up, that’s probably the reason why I can do what I can do today ‘cause of their leadership,” said Tarr, who initially wanted to teach Spanish and geography, but gravitated toward coaching, something that was always on her radar as well.

While playing at UW, Tarr developed her focus on coaching softball by attending copious camps and clinics.

Tarr thrives on being in the position to teach players life skills like latching onto mental toughness and striving to put in their best performances.

She thinks it’s cool to see “people coming together as a group for a common goal, (and) just trying to learn every day to be a better person and be a better teammate.”

Leadership is a crucial part of Tarr’s game plan with her players as well.

“I love trying to help young women learn about leadership, learn that they are leaders, learn how to be better leaders within the environment that they’re in with us for the time that we have them,” she said.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading

t
Redmond coach, grapplers join Ascend Wrestling Academy

Redmond High wrestling coach Lantz Schwabenbauer and several local grapplers are part… Continue reading

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Screenshot
Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Redmond football squad is ready to ‘Pound the Rock’
Redmond football squad is ready to ‘Pound the Rock’

Mustangs open season against Squalicum.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.