BATON ROUGE -- LSU sprinter Xavier Carter announced Wednesday that he will forego his remaining college eligibility in both track and football to join the professional track and field circuit.
Carter, the 2006 NCAA Men’s Track Athlete of the Year, made history at the outdoor national championships, becoming the first athlete since Jesse Owens in 1936 to win four titles at a NCAA meet. The Palm Bay, Fla., native won titles in the 100 meters, 400 meters, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay. He was also the first athlete in the 86-year history of the NCAA Championships to ever pull off the successful 100-400 double.
Carter leaves LSU with a school record-tying seven NCAA titles and 10 All-America honors. He also has four individual school records to his credit as he posted top marks in the 100 (10.09) and 200 (20.02) during the outdoor season and the 200 meters (20.30) and 400 meters (45.28) during the indoor campaign.
In addition, he anchored LSU to a collegiate record in the outdoor 4x400-meter relay (2:59.59) and a new school record mark in the indoor 4x400-meter relay (3:04.01).
The following are comments made by Carter and head track and field coach Dennis Shaver at today’s press conference:
LSU Track and Field Press Conference
June 21, 2006
Sprinter Xavier Carter
“Good afternoon and thank you for being here. Coming to LSU has been one of the best and most beneficial decisions of my life. It has afforded me the opportunity to further my education at a prestigious university and to train under some of the best coaches in college sports – both track and football. Because of Coach (Dennis) Shaver, not only did I meet all of the personal goals I set for myself as a track athlete, I was able to accomplish a feat that is rare in track and field.”
“With the training and coaching provided by Coach Shaver and the rest of our coaches, and with the help of my teammates, I have the honor and privilege of owning seven indoor and outdoor NCAA championship titles as well as many other records and titles over the past two track seasons. These accomplishments would not have been possible without my coaches and teammates. Over the past week since the NCAA championship meet, I have given a lot of thought to my athletic career and my future. After careful consideration of my options, I am pleased to announce that I will continue my track and field career at the professional level.”
“My decision to go pro is a bittersweet one. While I am excited with the prospects of my future endeavors as a professional athlete, the end of my athletic association with LSU also saddens me. I am thrilled to say that I will continue to pursue my academic goals at LSU and I will continue to train under Coach Shaver. I will always support LSU and I will always be a Fighting Tiger in spirit and at heart. It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the LSU Tiger track uniform and the Tiger football uniform.”
“There are many people I want to acknowledge and personally thank. First and most importantly, I want to acknowledge that my deepest and sincerest things, appreciation and gratitude are to none other then God Almighty. I know that God is the source of all that I am and without him, none of my accomplishments would be possible. I want to thank my parents for your continued love and support throughout my life. You have been a continued source of inspiration and encouragement and I love you both very much.”
“My aunt Toni and my uncles Robert, George and Malcolm Myer, you opened your hearts and homes to me and provided me with unconditional love and support from the day I arrived in Baton Rouge. Without you I could not have made it through the past two years. To Coach Shaver, your coaching expertise, leadership, tireless dedication and support pushed me to a level of performance that I didn’t know was possible. My success was made possible by your efforts and the help of the rest of the track coaching staff.”
“In the 17th century, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of it self, every man is a piece of the continent.” This is certainly the case when it comes to the LSU men’s track team. As an individual, I could never have accomplished what we accomplished as a team. Being a part of the 2005 and 2006 LSU men’s track teams was an exceptional experience. I appreciate each and every one of my teammates. My individual accomplishments, as well as our team accomplishments were possible because of who we were as a team. Likewise, to my fellow football teammates, I have nothing but love and respect for you guys. I had the time of my life and I regret that I will not be back for another year of Tiger terror on the gridiron. I want to say a special thank you to the football coaching staff for your support during the football season as well as during the track season.”
“I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to the LSU student body and the LSU community at large for supporting my fellow teammates and I throughout the season. It is very rewarding and encouraging to look up into the stands and see purple and gold and to hear you chanting for us. We really appreciate your loyalty and support. Additionally, I want to thank our city and government officials for your recognition and acknowledgement of my accomplishments during last week’s Resolution Ceremony. It was truly a sensational and memorable event.”
Head Coach Dennis Shaver
“I just wanted to talk briefly about the contributions, obviously, and what all Xavier has done while he’s been here. The reality is that Xavier was with us from sometime around the first part of January through the middle of June each year, and the rest of the time he was with football. Some of the things that he accomplished, while he didn’t go into detail I would like to because it’s been just a real spectacular progression in his performances that have brought along some school records and so forth. First of all, he’s a several time SEC champion as everyone knows. He’s also now been named this year Male Athlete of the Year among all sports within the SEC, which is really an incredible achievement for him and it’s great to know that people realize just what a tremendous athlete that he is.”
“The three NCAA individual events that he was NCAA champion were the 400 indoors this year. I think he missed the 200 by a hundredth of a second. Then this year outdoors, of course, he had the 100 and 400 meter double, which had never been probably attempted before much less accomplished and he was successful in that within a 32 minute period at the NCAA Championships. Three relay NCAA championships in the 4x400 and 4x100. Those are just tremendous accomplishments. Schools go for years hoping they can just win one. He’s the school record holder indoor at 200, school record holder in the 100 and school record holder in the 200 at a university that is well known for its past athletes that have performed outstanding, of course, in those events.”
“Obviously, he played major roles in the last couple of years with our third place finish indoors as a men’s team there representing the university. Then, of course, this year the two runner-up spots indoors and outdoors with the contributions he made not only just point totals but his work ethic, coachability and one of his greatest assets is just his burning desire to win every time he lines up. I know that he knows how to win and finds a way to get the job done. As the year passes, a lot of the things about our sport, just like any sport, is contagious and it just grew. Some of the achievements that other athletes within our squad accomplished during the year directly related to the encouragement that Xavier often times gave them. One example being our 4x400 team advancing at the NCAA meet without Xavier and Kelly Willie running on it and they ran a very fast 3:02, which was outstanding among those four returning guys.”
“Also, just remembering back in Sacramento last year when we lined up and just hoping we could have a chance at winning the 4x400. The gun fires and they took off, and at the end Xavier ran a 44.0 flat on the anchor and the guys broke a 17-year-old collegiate record in 2:59.59. That record had been there for 17 years. I know that there were a lot of great schools over that 17 years that were trying to get that record.”
“Walter Davis has been, certainly in modern history, kind of the icon of LSU. Everybody knew when Walter got on the runway he was going to win, even if it took him until his last jump. He did it time and time again, and he won a lot of NCAA championships for us during his tenure here. Xavier, of course, is another person that I feel proud to say is in that same category in what Walter Davis established himself as. Since that time, of course, Walter has gone on and continued to do just what Xavier plans to do. That’s finish with his degree here at LSU, train here and during that time period since Walter graduated he earned his first World championship this past year. I know that that’s something in the eyes of Xavier as well as the Olympic champion, which I know are in the eyes of both of those guys and we certainly feel like they can do that.”
“His willingness to listen, coachability and that burning desire to compete and win and help our team win and do whatever he could is certainly what I’m going to remember about Xavier.”
Comment from LSU football coach Les Miles on Xavier Carter’s decision to go pro in track:
“With the great season Xavier had in track this year, he was obviously going to have the opportunity to take his abilities to the next level. We support Xavier’s decision of fulfilling what has been a dream of his and that’s to be one of the best sprinters in the world and represent the Unites States in the Olympics. This decision is one that we certainly understand and we wish him nothing but the best.”