Panther Softball Coaches Corner
Coach Carlos Falla begins his ninth season as head coach of Lady Panthers Softball. Previously, Falla was the head coach at Webber International University, where he led the WIU Warriors to seven conference tournament and six regional tournament appearances. Falla received the Conference Coach of the Year award in 1998, and during his tenure as head coach at WIU, Falla accumulated a record of 339 wins and 229 losses.
During Falla’s nine years, the Panthers have qualified for the FCSAA State Tournament five times. Over the past nine years the panthers have moved 25 players to four-year institutions.
Coach Falla graduated from Sebring High School in 1978 and was selected as a member of the National High School All-Star Baseball Team. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (1978-81) and graduated from Webber International University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Assistant Softball Coach
Heather Barnes has been a lifelong resident of Avon Park, Fla. She grew up playing baseball with her twin brother Heath, coached by her father Ronnie Barnes and grandfather Johnny Barnes. She was a part of the competitive Florida Ultimate Gold travel softball team in high school.
In 2008, she graduated from Avon Park High School, where she played softball, ran cross country, and was a part of the swimming and diving team. Heather was a member of the Highlands Today and News Sun softball All County team for four years and two-time Softball Player of the Year. During her high school career, she was an All-County selection for swimming, cross country, and diving and was named the All County Diver of the Year her senior year.
Heather attended Division 1 Stetson University her freshman year of college, where she was an everyday starter at second base for the Lady Hatters. A shoulder injury ended her career at Stetson, and she returned home to play for the South Florida Community College Panthers softball team for the 2009-2010 season. During her campaign at SFCC, Heather was named second-team All-Conference first baseman and led the Panthers in batting average. She graduated from SFCC with an associate in arts degree in elementary education.
Heather made the transition back to Division 1 softball, attending Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where she quickly became an everyday starter at second base. She led the FAU Owls in batting average, slugging percentage, triples, RBI, hits, and was tied for home runs during her junior season. She ended the year as a member of the All-Conference Tournament Team and was named the Sunbelt All Conference Second Baseman. Her senior year was no different as she led the team in RBI, triples, and hits. Heather was also named to the All-Conference Academic Team.
She graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and is now a fifth grade teacher at Woodlawn Elementary in Sebring, Fla.