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 ninth season as a member of LSU’s coaching staff in 2016.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers have flourished in eight seasons under Lane’s direction as he has coached 11 NCAA scorers to 35 scoring 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 36 All-SEC honors over the last eight seasons.
2015 saw the emergence of Nataliyah Friar as one of the NCAA’s elite jumpers when she claimed a pair of All-America and All-SEC honors with her performance as a sophomore.
The Lady Tigers had not featured a 21-foot jumper for nine seasons until Friar broke that barrier with a jump of 21 feet, 0 inches on her sixth and final attempt of the long jump final at the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships to finish as the NCAA Indoor Bronze Medalist and earn All-America honors for the first time in her career. That single jump on her last attempt moved Friar from eighth place to third place in the final standings.
Not only did Friar jump an indoor PR of 21-0 in the long jump to rank No. 7 in school history, but she also set an indoor career best of 42-6 in the triple jump as a sophomore in 2015.
But it was Friar’s performance at the SEC Outdoor Championships a season ago that cemented her status as one of the elite jumpers at the collegiate level with a pair of All-SEC finishes for the first time in her career. That’s where she soared to a career-best wind-aided jump of 21-10 ¾ to finish as the SEC Outdoor Silver Medalist in the long jump and a wind-legal PR of 43-10 to finish as the SEC Outdoor Bronze Medalist in the triple jump with two of the top jumps in the NCAA for the 2015 season.
Friar picked up her second All-America honor as a sophomore when she placed sixth in the triple jump final at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Oregon’s Hayward Field to wrap up the collegiate season. She followed by representing Team USA at the World University Games in South Korea in the summer where she jumped her wind-legal best of 21-0 ¾ in the long jump.
Friar wrapped up the 2015 outdoor season ranked No. 7 in school history in the triple jump and No. 10 in school history in the long jump on LSU’s all-time outdoor performance list.
The 2013 season proved to be one for the record books for Lane’s athletes when 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 finish off a dominant outdoor season.
After earning SEC and NCAA silver medals during the 2013 indoor season, Forbes followed outdoors by sweeping SEC Outdoor and NCAA Outdoor titles as the nation’s most prolific long jumper at the collegiate level. Forbes posted the two best wind-aided jumps of his collegiate career in sweeping long jump championships with marks of 27-4 ½w at the SEC Championships and 27-4 ¾w at the NCAA Championships that spring. He became just the third LSU 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 also 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 as the 10th-ranked long jumper worldwide for 2013. He finished in eighth place in his first international final at the World Championships held in Moscow, Russia, in the summer of 2013.
A native of Decatur, Georgia, Forbes also made his Olympics debut in the summer of 2012 while representing Jamaica at the London Games. 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.
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.
Pitts followed with a brilliant senior season in 2014 in which she added two more All-SEC and All-America honors as one of the nation’s elite triple jumpers once again.
The Prairieville, Louisiana, native eclipsed the 44-foot mark for the first time in her career in a bronze-medal-winning third-place finish at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships while jumping 44-0 ¾ for the No. 7-ranked mark indoors in school history. She then ended the indoor season as the NCAA Indoor bronze medalist with a third-place finish at the national meet.
Outdoors, Pitts again took her place among the nation’s elite as an NCAA Championship qualifier in both the high jump and triple jump. She jumped a wind-legal personal best of 44-1 ¼ to earn All-America honors in the event outdoors for the first time in her career with a fourth-place finish nationally after equaling her indoor effort as the SEC Outdoor bronze medalist in the event. Pitts later jumped a career-best wind-aided 44-6 ¼ to be crowned the USA Outdoor bronze medalist at the 2014 USA Outdoor Championships with her final meet in an LSU uniform.
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 that season 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.
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 & 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 honors, 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.
Off the track, Lane has been involved as an instructor for USA Track & Field and currently with USTFCCCA in coaching education programs. He also lectures nationally on training and technique.
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, the 43-year-old Lane graduated from Luther College (Iowa) in May 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. An avid Green Bay Packers fan, Lane 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 18 years, Turena Johnson Lane, are the proud parents of four children – their daughter, Taylor Grace Lane, born on May 6, 2011; and their sons, Miles William Lane, born on Aug. 30, 2012; Mason James Lane, born on Jan. 27, 2014; and Jace James Lane, born on Dec. 16, 2015.
The Lane File
2007-Present – Assistant Coach
2006-07 – Assistant Coach
Ball State University
2004-06 – Assistant Coach
Georgia Southern University
1999-2004 – Head Women’s Track & Field Coach
1997-2004 – Head Cross Country Coach
1995-96 – Graduate Assistant Cross Country Coach
St. Cloud State University
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
4 NCAA Bronze Medalists
11 NCAA Scorers earning 35 All-America honors
5 SEC Champion athletes winning 6 SEC Championships
13 All-SEC athletes earning 36 All-SEC honors
Lane’s NCAA Scorers at LSU
High Jump (5)
Pole Vault (5)
Long Jump (13)
Triple Jump (12)