Head coach and program “agree to part ways”

Former softball head coach Gator Rebhan looks at his team will they prepape to take on Central Connecticut State on February 23, 2018 at Felsberg Field in the FIU Softball Stadium. (Nicholas Poblete/PantherNow)

By Brett Shweky/Sports Director



Softball head coach Gator Rebhan has “agreed to part ways” with the program according to FIU Athletics.

Tyson Rodgers, the school’s Director of Sports Information, confirmed the news to PantherNow on Saturday, Oct. 13. Rodgers discussed how more information will be released sometime this week.

Recently hired assistant coach Heather Gelbard is rumored to take over as the interim head coach.

Gelbard was brought into the program on Wednesday, August 8th and comes from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County where she served as the team’s head coach.

“We’re very excited to add a coach of Heather’s caliber to our staff,” said Coach Rebhan before agreeing to “part ways” with the program. “She knows the area well, as she was born and raised right here in Miami, and she’s had tremendous success at each of her coaching stops.”

Before her two-year stint with the Retrievers, she spent seven seasons as an assistant with FAU and also two years as an assistant with Barry University.

The Miami native played under Coach Rebhan while at Miami Palmetto Senior High School and also in travel ball with the Miami Stingrays from 2000-2003.

Once completing high school, she joined Rebhan on the Miami Stingrays coaching staff where they helped lead their squad to a third-place finish in the 2007 ASA Nationals.

The Panthers began their fall season last weekend against Broward Community College and Indian River.

Coach Gelbard went to Twitter and commented on the start of the fall season.

“Great start for FIU softball this weekend. Lots of potential to build. Unbelievably proud of these kids for persevering despite difficult circumstances,” Gelbard via Twitter.

Rebhan, who was hired on Aug. 1, 2014, achieved a 30-25 record last season and secured a bid to the Conference USA Championship. The Panthers ended up losing in the tournament to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

In 2017, the four-year head coach took the program back to the NCAA Regionals for the third time in history including posting a 46-15 record, which set a record for most wins in a season.

During this season, the Panthers earned a spot in the C-USA Championship game for the first time in program history.

As an assistant with the program and as the head coach, Rebhan accomplished success in developing superb talent.

Most recently, former pitcher Shannon Saile captured the C-USA Freshman of the Year award, joining Stephanie Texeira as the program’s only players to win the accolade.

Saile was a sophomore on the team last season, however, decided to transfer to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Texeira is a former infielder for the program and holds the all-time records in batting average (.405), runs (159), home runs (47), RBI (190) and defensive putouts (1,191).

The program great went on the professional level and is the reigning MVP for the American Softball Association.

She was picked 32nd overall in the league’s inaugural draft by Moh-bee USA in the eighth round.

FIU Athletics said, “they could not comment at this time on the matter.”

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