Javelin Champion Laverne Eve to Enter Hall of Fame
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of features profiling the eight members of the 2015 LSU Athletic Hall of Fame induction class. The inductees are gymnast April Burkholder, track hurdler Kim Carson, athletic trainer Mike Chambers, javelin thrower Laverne Eve, women’s basketball player Sylvia Fowles, athletic trainer Herman Lang, swimmer Todd Torres and football player Ebert Van Buren. They will be formally inducted during the Hall of Fame ceremony at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 in the L’Auberge Baton Rouge Events Center.
There are some athletes that come through an athletic program and leave a brick to build on for the future. Others come through and lay an entire foundation, and that is certainly what Laverne Eve did during her time at LSU.
Laverne Eve was a discus, shot and javelin thrower at LSU from 1986-88 and helped guide the Lady Tigers to three NCAA championships. In 1987, she was the individual NCAA champion for javelin. That same year she set the school record for longest javelin throw -- 204 feet, nine inches -- a mark that still stands today.
Eve, a two time All-American, helped lead the LSU women’s track and field team to the 1987 NCAA outdoor championship, a title which started a streak of 11 straight outdoor NCAA crowns for the Lady Tigers.
For her accomplishments, Eve has been selected as one of six former student-athletes to be inducted this year into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Eve went on to compete in five Olympic Games, eight IAAF World Championships and win 22 gold medals at various events, including one at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Yet, she said she holds the honor of being inducted into LSU’s Hall of Fame above all of her accomplishments.
“I think that stacks up at the very top,” Eve said. “I can look back at and say ‘Wow, I am here with legends.’ Really?
“When I think of Hall of Fame, I think ‘Oh God, these are legends,’’ Eve continued. “These are people who put everything on the line doing what they love to do. And they did it with great respect and love. I never thought my name would ever be mentioned with anything to do with the Hall of Fame.”
Eve said she recalls her days at LSU very fondly and one of her favorite moments was setting the school record for longest javelin throw. That record has stood for over 28 years. The athletes currently attempting to break her record were not born yet when she set it. Eve seemed to be taken by surprise when she realized how long her mark had stood.
“Oh my God! 28?” Eve said. “I did not know it has been that many years. I am shocked.”
At the time the javelin record was established, Eve said the track at Bernie Moore Stadium was being renovated and the team was practicing on a big track near the field house, so she was not expecting anything special to come of the event.
“I couldn’t believe it myself,” Eve said. “I had to look at the board several times. I was like ‘is that right? Am I hearing right?’ They said 62 meters and I was like ‘nah’ and then I looked at it and I said ‘oh, it’s real.’”
Eve went on to have what many would consider to be a very fruitful professional career. She credits her time at LSU for long-term success as a professional. LSU was able to provide her with a large venue in which to perform, and that prepared her mentally for global events.
“Winning (the NCAA championship), that was one of my first big events’” Eve said. Once you win NCAA’s, you go global. So, the whole world is watching.”
Eve mentioned that performing at these global events is very nerve-racking. She recalled what it was like when she competed in Athens, Greece for the 2004 Olympic Games.
“It’s all a mental game,” Eve said. “When you step on that track, physically every one is fit to throw far. But, mentally the ones who are prepared are the ones who always have that edge.”
Eve placed sixth in the javelin at the ’04 Olympics, which she called one of her favorite moments of her career.
Eve attributed LSU’s ability to surround her with elite coaching throughout her career as a major contribution toward her success.
“At LSU you have great coaches there,” Eve said. “That plays a big role.”
Eve enjoyed the coaching and atmosphere at LSU so much that she decided to stick around Baton Rouge after her career as a Tiger ended. She stayed at LSU to train with her former coaches during her professional career until 1998, almost a decade after she was done competing with the Tigers.
This admiration was echoed by one of Eve’s coaches. Former LSU track field coach Pat Henry wrote a letter recommending her for LSU’s Hall of Fame.
“Laverne Eve is a special athlete,” Henry wrote. “Dedication is the word that you think of when you think of Laverne Eve. Her love for the sport and the resulting dedication is without question her great strength. I would, without reservation, recommend her for our Hall of Fame.”
Eve retired from a 23-year professional career the in summer of 2010. She may be done throwing the javelin for LSU, but she certainly still considers herself a Tiger.
“Even to this day I still try to follow the program,” Eve said. “Every time I hear ‘LSU Tigers’ (I feel) a lot of pride. I love the purple and gold. I brag about the purple and gold.
“I am very proud to say that I am a Fighting Tiger.”