Coach Bird leads team on the field and in life

Grace Brethren Girls’ Softball has carved a successful niche in the highly competitive Tri-Valley League. With sheer confidence and determination, the Lancer team has never hesitated going head to head with giant league competitors that boast both size and numbers. Over the past 7 seasons, the Lady Lancers’ have boasted an overall record 79-36-2 under the masterful guidance of their head coach, Heidi Bird. Coach Bird (Knabe) graduated from Simi Valley High School in 2003 and received a full athletic scholarship to play softball at Arizona State University (ASU).  She was a four year starting catcher for ASU and went to the Women’s College World Series (WCWS) twice. Coach Bird (Knabe) stayed on as a graduate assistant for the team where she helped coach the 2008 National Championship College Softball team.  She graduated from ASU with her B.S. in Kinesiology and M.A. in Physical Education. 

After graduating from ASU, Coach Bird returned to Simi Valley where she was a varsity assistant coach with Simi High Softball for the 2009 season.  She later became the Head Softball Coach at Simi High School for the 2011 and 2012 seasons before coming over to Grace Brethren. 

Now in her 7th season with Grace, the Lady Lancers’ currently sit tied for 1st place after an impressive record of 6 wins and 1 loss in league play. We had the chance to catch up with coach Bird and ask questions about her experience so far at Grace. 

Athletics: How long have you been the Head Softball Coach at Grace Brethren? 

Coach Bird: This is my 7th season coaching at Grace. 

Athletics: What brought you to Grace Brethren to coach?

Coach Bird: A friend was a teacher at Grace and Grace was in need of a softball coach. She gave them my number to see if I would be interested in coaching. Tim and I were always interested in having our kids attend Grace so we thought it would be a great family move to attend and coach at Grace. We're all in! 

Athletics: What are 3 Highlights that you have experienced in the Lancer Softball program since being named Head Coach?

Coach Bird: There have been many highlights at Grace for me but my top three would have to be: 

  1. Our 7th inning walk off win against St. Boni last year to clinch first place in league.  
  2.  Beating Simi High School on their turf in our first ever Friday night game under the lights. There was a lot of energy and fans cheering both sides on!
  3. Having the opportunity to mentor so many young ladies and watch them grow after high school. So fun to see these ladies move on to their next adventures and still keep in touch with me! 

Athletics: When thinking back to the athletes you have coached throughout your 7 seasons, which athletes have gone on to play collegiately?

Coach Bird:  Jessie Fontes (played 3 years at Grace) and is currently playing softball at University of Arizona. Chardaye Beltran is playing softball at Cornell College. Reese Whiteley (Played 2 years at Grace) is currently playing at Long Island University. Nadia Collins has verbally committed to play softball at Cal Lutheran University for the 2022-23 season. 

Athletics: Tell us about your family

Coach Bird: I've been happily married to Tim Bird going on 13 years this July. We have 3 kids. Cody (11 years old), Cole (8 years old), and Haley (4 years old).  All three kids attend Grace Brethren and absolutely love it! You'll probably find our family at some sports field in Simi Valley during the week and weekend. Both boys play football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Haley loves to dance and play soccer.  We also love to travel, Germany being one of our favorite spots! 

Thank you coach Heidi Bird for modeling excellence on and off the field to the countless student-athletes you have influenced. You and your family are a treasure within the Grace Brethren community.

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