The LSU jumps program boasts one of the proudest traditions in the history of collegiate track and field in the United States, and assistant coach Todd Lane looks to continue that tradition as he enters his seventh season as a member of LSU’s coaching staff in 2014.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers have flourished in six seasons under Lane’s direction as he has coached 11 NCAA scorers to 33 All-America honors in four different jumping events since joining the LSU coaching staff prior to the 2008 season. His student-athletes have also captured six SEC championships and 32 All-SEC honors over the last six seasons.
The 2013 season proved to be one for the record books as Damar Forbes wrapped up one of the most prolific careers for a long jumper in the history of the LSU Track & Field program as a national champion to cap a dominant outdoor season.
After earning his fourth career SEC and NCAA silver medals with a pair of runner-up finishes during the 2013 indoor season, Forbes followed outdoors by sweeping SEC Outdoor and NCAA Outdoor titles as the nation’s most prolific performer in the event. Forbes posted the two best wind-aided jumps of his collegiate career in sweeping long jump championships with jumps of 27-4 ½w at the SEC Championships and 27-4 ¾w at the NCAA Championships last spring. He is just the third Tiger all-time to sweep SEC and NCAA championships in the long jump outdoors by joining the great Billy Brown (1941) and Walter Davis (2002).
Forbes jumped a wind-legal personal best of 27-0 ¾ to win his second-straight Jamaican long jump title and qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics for the second time for his career. That’s where he finished in eighth place in his first international final in the meet held in Moscow, Russia, last summer.
A native of Decatur, Ga., Forbes also made his Olympics debut in the summer of 2012 while representing Jamaica at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He ended his season with an 18th-place finish while competing at the highest level of the sport for the first time.
Forbes went out as one of the most decorated long jumpers in the program’s history as an NCAA champion, two-time SEC champion and six-time All-American with the Tigers. He is the No. 2-ranked long jumper in school history as his PR of 27-0 ¾ trails only the school-record mark of 27-9 ¾ by 2004 Olympic silver medalist John Moffitt.
Forbes even starred as the leadoff leg of LSU’s 4x100-meter relay team during his senior season in 2013, leading the Tigers to an SEC gold medal and All-America honors in the event.
The 2013 indoor season also saw the emergence of two of the nation’s top triple jumpers on the women’s side as Keri Emanuel and Lynnika Pitts earned All-America honors after wrapping up their indoor campaign at the NCAA Championships. Emanuel took sixth place while Pitts followed in seventh place in the triple jump final at the NCAA Indoor meet.
Emanuel jumped a lifetime PR of 44-2 in claiming the SEC Indoor silver medal before she earned All-America honors in her debut season with the Lady Tigers. Pitts also set a lifetime best at the SEC Indoor Championships with a mark of 43-9 for fourth place in the triple jump final.
The 2012 season was highlighted by Trinidad & Tobago international Kyron Blaise wrapping up his collegiate career as one of the top scoring Tigers at the NCAA Championships by earning a trio of All-America honors in his final season in Baton Rouge.
After setting a wind-legal PR of 54-1 ¼ in an All-SEC runner-up finish in the triple jump at the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships, Blaise scored the NCAA Outdoor bronze medal with a third-place finish at the national meet in his final competition in an LSU uniform. Blaise totaled a team-leading nine points at the NCAA Outdoor Championships two years ago as he also reached All-America status in the long jump with a sixth-place finish nationally.
Blaise proved himself as one of the NCAA’s leading dual jumpers in his final season at LSU, earning his first career All-America honor in the long jump with a sixth-place finish indoors before setting a lifetime PR of 25-11 ½ in a third-place finish at the SEC Outdoor meet.
The 2012 season also witnessed the final season in the career of the most decorated pole vaulter in the storied history of the LSU women’s program as Rachel Laurent hung up her spikes as a four-time All-American and five-time All-SEC performer. She earned All-America status for the fourth time a year ago with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships while clearing a seasonal-best height of 14-1 ¼. Laurent left the program as LSU’s school-record holder in the pole vault with PRs of 14-3 ½ indoors and 14-3 ¼ outdoors during her tenure.
The 2011 season saw the end of two storied careers as Brittani Carter and Zedric Thomas also finished their eligibility among the all-time greats to wear the purple and gold.
Carter is the most decorated high jumper in the history of the Lady Tiger program after winning two SEC titles and five All-America honors in four seasons at LSU. As a senior in 2011, Carter set a lifetime PR indoors at 6-1 ¼ and defended her SEC Indoor crown before earning All-America honors in national competition with a bronze-medal winning third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and seventh-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Like Carter, Thomas wrapped up his collegiate career in 2011 as a five-time All-America selection in four seasons with the Tigers while shattering personal bests in both the long jump and triple jump. Thomas had top wind-legal marks of 26-6 ¼ in the long jump and 54-5 ½ in the triple jump in his final collegiate season with Lane’s coaching.
Lane joined the LSU coaching staff after spending one season at the University of Miami, where he was voted the top women’s jumps and combined events assistant in the East Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in 2007.
The Hurricanes enjoyed great success under Lane’s tutelage as he coached his athletes to a total of three All-America honors, eight All-Atlantic Coast Conference, four ACC titles and one current school record. In addition, Hurricane standouts Brenda Faluade and Amy Seward swept postseason awards in 2007 while being named the ACC Indoor Field Performer of the Year and ACC Outdoor Field Performer of the Year, respectively.
Prior to joining the staff at Miami, Lane served as an assistant coach at Ball State University of the Mid-American Conference. In 2006, he helped guide BSU to a runner-up finish at the MAC Indoor Championships and a third-place showing at the MAC Outdoor Championships before being named interim head coach following the season.
Lane is not without head coaching experience as he was the head track and field coach at Georgia Southern University for five years where he oversaw the program from its inception in 1999. He was named the SoCon Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004 after leading Georgia Southern to back-to-back runner-up finishes at the SoCon Outdoor Championships.
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, the 41-year-old Lane graduated from Luther College (Iowa) in May 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He has also received two master’s degrees from Georgia Southern University, including one in sport management in May 1997 and a second in exercise science in December 2005.
Lane and his wife of 16 years, Turena Johnson Lane, are the proud parents of two children – their daughter, Taylor Grace Lane, born on May 6, 2011, and their son, Miles William Lane, born on Aug. 30, 2012.
The Lane File
2007-Present – Assistant Coach
2006-07 – Assistant Coach
2004-06 – Assistant Coach
1999-2004 – Head Women’s Track & Field Coach
1997-2004 – Head Cross Country Coach
1995-96 – Graduate Assistant Cross Country Coach
St. Cloud State
1996-97 – Head Cross Country Coach; Assistant Track & Field Coach
Records and Achievements at LSU
1 U.S. Indoor Champion
1 NCAA Champion
7 NCAA Silver Medalists
11 NCAA Scorers earning 33 All-America honors
5 SEC Champion athletes winning 6 SEC Championships
12 All-SEC athletes earning 32 All-SEC honors