'Women in Sports' Profile: Prep Coach Staci Heath
Staci Heath became a high school head coach at the age of 24.
Staci Heath became a high school head coach at the age of 24.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ninth in a series 

The second annual “Women in Sports” career seminar, presented by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, will be held Saturday, Jan. 24 in Portland, Ore.

Designed for college and high school females interested in pursuing sports-related careers, the seminar will take place in the Georgia Pacific Room at Memorial Coliseum.

The event will feature panelists from a broad cross-section of occupational paths, including coaching, administration, business, marketing, media, media relations, NCAA compliance, sports medicine, ticket sales, and officiating. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with -- and seek career advice from -- a slate of experienced sports professionals in a round-table format. 

Below is a profile on a panelist who will be featured at this year's event.

Staci Heath, David Douglas H.S.
P.E. Teacher/Head Softball Coach

College attended: Linfield College

College major:

  • Major in Physical Education
  • Minor in Health Education

Current position: High school physical education teacher; head softball coach

Years in current position:

Teaching P.E. in the David Douglas School District for 18 years; softball coach at DDHS for 17 years

Primary job responsibilities:

P.E. job responsibilities: To develop in each pupil an understanding of the relationship of good body function and exercise; to motivate each pupil to cultivate physical fitness, hygienic habits, and good social and emotional adjustment; to discover and develop talents of pupils in physical achievement; to develop strength, skill, agility, poise, and coordination in individual, dual, and team physical activities and sports, in accordance with each pupil’s ability.

Coaching job responsibilities: • Recruit, train, and coach members of the softball program • Coordinate total development and promotion of the program • Generate additional funds for support of the program through fundraising • Organize and schedule practice sessions • Provide field care and maintenance • Perform administrative tasks including budget formulation

Things I enjoy most about my job: I really enjoy the daily interactions and positive relationships I get to build with my students and athletes. Everyday in the classroom or field is a chance to build self-confidence in young student-athletes

First job in the sports industry: Assistant coach with the Linfield College softball program

A key mentor who helped me on my career path: My dad was a coach and teacher. I always loved going to his school and watching him coach. I also had many coaches that were positive influences on me. I always was inspired by my high school softball coach, Chris Mueller. She was caring and tough! She had high expectations for her athletes and it often times led to success in wins and losses and a great team environment.

Most influential person in my early professional development: I was lucky at David Douglas High School; there were many coaches who had a lot of experience and they were great sounding boards for me. We have strong female coaches like Kamala Skipper and Ronda Haun who were long-time coaches. They were really good at having high expectations and teaching life lessons through sports. I also had a great athletic director in Jim Kitchen and principal John Harrington; both were long-time coaches and influential in me coming up with a strong coaching philosophy.

How I got involved in my professional career: I knew I wanted to be a teacher and coach from a young age. I valued everything my teachers and coaches taught me. At Linfield I was able to develop great connections, and having my dad involved in education was helpful when it came time to apply for teaching and coaching jobs.

Biggest hurdle I overcame breaking into the sports industry: My biggest hurdle was my age. I was hired as the head softball coach at the age of 24. Our high school principal was not 100 percent confident I was ready for the responsibility. I thought I was! After a couple years of experience, I knew what he was talking about. There is a lot more to being a head coach than just coaching.

Key attributes that have helped shape my career path: Continuing to further my knowledge about my sport and sport psychology. Also, surrounding myself with good people. Hiring good coaches has helped make me a better coach. I learn something every day from my assistant coaches.

Best advice I’d give to a young female wanting to work in sports: If working in sports is your passion -- do it! If you do something you love your job will be fun and very rewarding. Young women need strong role models and we need more women involved in sports.

Favorite sports team: I love any team that is the underdog! I don't have a favorite, I just love watching people compete.

Favorite athlete: Mia Hamm