“Ultimately, the lifestyle of coaching became difficult for me, considering the amount of hours required outside of traditional work-time hours,” Heintz said. “It made it hard to maintain a healthy balance with my kids and family outside of the workplace.”
Heintz joined the Bulls in 1997, as Eriksen’s first assistant coach.
“Ken brought me in from the start. The plan was to build a championship program with great people and great academics,” Heintz said. “I think we’ve done that and the program will continue to do that.”
Heintz left the program from 2007-08 to be with her husband while he was playing professional baseball, and returned from 2009-12. She coached during the Bulls’ College World Series run and said her favorite thing about coaching was the day-to-day interaction with each player.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is the daily grind with the ladies on the team,” Heintz said. “I loved helping them, not only with softball, but with growing up. The most important thing to me is seeing them go into the world as strong young women. I want them to learn not just about softball, but about what it takes to succeed after college. Hopefully, I will find another opportunity where I can still be a mentor, just in a more traditional work setting.
“I had 20-24 daughters each year, and that’s why I think God gave me two sons. It’s interesting, and keeps you very busy. That’s the kind of busy I don’t mind at all. Even a bad day with the team always ended up being a good day.”
Heintz expressed an appreciation for the opportunity provided at USF, thanking Eriksen, the administrative staff and the university.
“I’d like to thank Ken and Mr. McGillis for hiring me back after a two-year hiatus,” she said. “They took a chance and put their trust in me to help bring the program to higher levels. They have always been there for me with advice.
“I want to thank Ken for inviting me down to be a part of USF softball. I never knew I would live in Tampa for 17 years. I have so many friends here, and the softball community has become my family and friends, and I think it will always be a part of my life.
“And I want to thank Monica Triner for being one of the players who was the most fun to coach,” Heintz finished. “She grew tremendously as a person, and is a true reflection of what USF softball is. Coaching with her, we had such a great time together every day. She is now one of my closest friends.”
Eriksen said the Bulls program will miss Heintz as a coach and the personal involvement she showed each day.
“I can’t say enough about the impact Stacey had on USF softball,” he said. “To watch our program grow the last 16 years with Stacey’s involvement has been a pleasurable process.”
Triner will take over Heintz’s role, with former volunteer assistant coach Carmela Liwag assuming a full-time role in Triner’s previous assistant position. A USF Hall of Fame member, Triner played with the Bulls from 1996-99, earning All-America status as a pitcher in 1998 and ‘99.
She graduated from USF in 1999, where she held 21 softball records and posted a career record of 92-33, with a school record 37 shutouts. She had a 0.95 ERA for her career and still holds records for career wins (92), complete games (109), saves (15), strikeouts (641), shutouts (37) and innings pitched (788). She finished her career winning three consecutive USF Silver Bat Awards, after leading the team with the highest batting average from 1997-99.
Triner batted .390 at USF with a school-record 23 home runs. She still holds records in slugging percentage (.572), walks (141) and on-base percentage (.508).
Triner joined Eriksen’s staff as a pitching coach in 2006, and has been an integral part of the coaching staff since that point.
Liwag was a four-time all-conference selection when playing with the Bulls, and holds the school record for runs batted in with 171. She joined the USF staff as a volunteer assistant in 2009, working with the infield and helping with hitting instruction.
Liwag and Triner are both extremely familiar with the team, which Eriksen said will make this change a bit easier.
“We are so fortunate that when one great person transitions to a new life track, we have people like Carmela and Monica to step into roles to keep USF softball at a very high level,” Eriksen said. “Both played this game at a high level and know my system inside and out. To have a personal investment is a big deal to me and to the team.”