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Former Snider standout Erin Heffner Ventress passes away

Three-sport star led Panthers to 2001 state title game

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 12:01 am

Former Snider volleyball and basketball star Erin Heffner Ventress died Saturday night after a long battle with cancer. Ventress, 30, was a teacher and volleyball coach at Berry Middle School in Hoover, Ala.

She taught physical education and had been at the school since 2010. Along with coaching volleyball, she coached the girls basketball team and in 2011-12 led them to a 19-1 record and the school's first conference championship.

An all-state volleyball player at Snider, Heffner led the Panthers to the Class 4A state semifinals as a senior in 2001 with 408 kills and 194 digs. She was the school's all-time leader in kills at her graduation. As a basketball player, Heffner was Snider's leading scorer and an all-area player on the Panthers' state finalist team in 2001. She was also an excellent high jumper in track where she placed fifth in the state meet as a sophomore.

While at Alabama, Ventress was an honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American in 2003 and 2004 and still holds school records for career kills (2,090) and attacks (4,785). She was just the third player in Southeastern Conference history to reach 2,000 career kills, and she became the first Alabama player to earn SEC honors all four years. She was also a three-time academic all-conference pick.

Ventress is survived by husband Thomas A. Ventress IV, parents Robert and Cathy Heffner, brothers Paul and Christopher and sister Evelyn Heffner. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to The V Foundation for Cancer Research in her name.

Funeral services will be held Friday morning in Alabama.