Former Lady Tiger standout Debbie Parris-Thymes enters her eighth season working as an assistant to head coach Dennis Shaver as she seeks to mold the women's sprinters and hurdlers into one of the elite groups in the nation once again during the 2014 season.
Parris-Thymes has brought a wealth of competitive experience and knowledge to the Lady Tiger program as she wrapped up an illustrious 11-year professional career at the IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 2005. She turned that experience into immediate success as an assistant coach at LSU as she has helped coach the Lady Tigers to eight team championships during her tenure, including a national title outdoors in 2008, as well as five SEC outdoor and two SEC Indoor titles since 2005.
The Lady Tiger great has helped coach 16 Lady Tigers to individual NCAA titles, 21 Lady Tigers to individual SEC titles and 25 Lady Tigers to All-America honors over the past eight seasons.
In all, 25 Lady Tiger sprinters and hurdlers have accounted for 148 All-America selections as NCAA Championship scorers since Parris-Thymes joined Shaver’s staff in 2005. That includes 19 All-America selections a year ago as LSU followed a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships while being led once again by the sprints, hurdles and relays in 2013.
The curtain closed on one of the storied careers in the history of collegiate track and field last season when Kimberlyn Duncan stepped onto the track for a final time as a Lady Tiger at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Duncan cemented her legacy as one of the all-time great sprinters when she tied the fastest all conditions 200 meters in collegiate history by running a wind-aided 22.04 seconds to win a sixth national championship in the 200-meter dash in her career. Duncan’s performance tied the 23-year-old collegiate record of 22.04 set by LSU’s Dawn Sowell at the 1989 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Provo, Utah.
The Katy, Texas, product stepped into history as she swept NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor gold medals for the third-straight season to become the first sprinter in collegiate history to claim six national titles in the 200-meter dash at the NCAA level. Duncan matched that output at the conference level with a sweep of SEC Indoor and SEC Outdoor titles in the 200 meters for the third year in a row, even running an SEC Outdoor Championships meet record of 22.35 in her senior season in 2013.
Not only did Duncan match the fastest all conditions 200 meters in collegiate history as a senior, but she set the low-altitude collegiate record of 22.19 as a junior in 2012 in the NCAA semifinals. She ran three of the five fastest wind-legal times and five of the eight fastest all conditions times in NCAA history as the most dominant 200-meter sprinter ever at the collegiate level.
Duncan earned the right to represent the United States on the international stage for the first time in her career in 2013 when she dropped her personal best of 21.80 in capturing her first career U.S. Outdoor title in the 200 meters to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
Duncan also earned a reputation as one of the world’s emerging talents in the 100-meter dash during her Lady Tiger career when she became just the fifth collegiate sprinter to break 11 seconds after setting the SEC Championships meet record of 10.96 in the 2012 conference final. Duncan defended her SEC 100-meter title as a senior in 2013 before winning the NCAA Outdoor bronze medal in the event last season. She also scored back-to-back NCAA silver medalist in the 100 meters in 2011 and 2012.
Duncan’s sophomore season in 2011 was highlighted by earning the title of scoring champion at the NCAA Outdoor Championships as she tallied 20.5 points for the Lady Tigers in their third-place finish. Not only did she win the NCAA Outdoor title in the 200 meters and finish as the national runner-up in the 100 meters, but Duncan also anchored the Lady Tigers to their 13th NCAA title all-time in the 4x100-meter relay, teaming with Kenyanna Wilson, Semoy Hackett and Rebecca Alexander for the sixth-fastest time in collegiate history at 42.64 in the national final.
Winner of The Bowerman in 2012 as the top athlete in collegiate track and field, Duncan tied the school record with seven NCAA event titles and 12 SEC events titles in four seasons from 2010-13.
A hurdler by trade, Parris-Thymes has helped mold one of the NCAA’s top sprint hurdlers during her tenure as Jasmin Stowers returns to lead the squad in 2014. Stowers joined the great Lolo Jones as a three-time SEC Indoor champion in the 60-meter hurdles when she defended her crown before claiming the NCAA Indoor bronze medal as a junior a year ago. She has also claimed two SEC Outdoor titles in the 100-meter hurdles with back-to-back victories in 2011 and 2012.
Stowers is a five-time All-American in the sprint hurdles during her career while running bests of 8.03 indoors and 12.88 outdoors in three seasons with the Lady Tigers.
Like Duncan, former Lady Tiger standout Cassandra Tate wrapped up the 2012 campaign as a national champion as she recorded a career-best of 55.22 to claim the NCAA crown in the 400-meter hurdles. Tate also helped lead the Lady Tigers to the national title in the 4x400-meter relay during the indoor season as she ran the second leg on a team that featured Alexander, Siedda Herbert and Jonique Day as they earned the 13th NCAA crown for the program in the event all-time with their victory.
Alexander, Tate and Day also joined leadoff leg Latoya McDermott on the team that set a new school record of 3 minutes, 24.59 seconds to finish as the national runners-up during the NCAA Outdoor Championships, marking the third-fastest 4x400-meter relay performance in NCAA history.
Parris-Thymes’ athletes were the catalyst in the Lady Tigers winning their 25th national championship in 2008 with a victory at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines. LSU's sprinters and hurdlers accounted for 59 of 67 points in the team standings as the Lady Tigers won their first NCAA Outdoor crown since 2003. In 2008, Parris-Thymes also helped guide the LSU women to their first sweep of SEC Indoor and Outdoor titles since 1996.
Kelly Baptiste became the first Lady Tiger in program history to sweep NCAA titles in the 60-meter dash and 100-meter dash in the same season, following in the footsteps of LSU greats Dawn Sowell (1989), Esther Jones (1990), D'Andre Hill (1994, 1995) and Sherry Fletcher (2007) as an NCAA 100-meter champion. Baptiste also earned outdoor All-America honors in the 200 meters, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay to finish as the Lady Tigers' top point scorer at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Using her expertise as a 400-meter hurdler, Parris-Thymes also helped coach former Lady Tiger star Nickiesha Wilson to an NCAA title in the event in the 2008 postseason.
The Lady Tigers carried that momentum into the summer as Baptiste (Trinidad & Tobago), Fletcher (Grenada) and Wilson (Jamaica) each represented their respective countries in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. They were part of the largest representation of any collegiate track and field program in the United States as 12 current and former LSU athletes participated in the Olympics.
In 2007, Parris-Thymes helped guide the Lady Tigers to a pair of NCAA runner-up finishes during both the indoor and outdoor seasons, while the team added yet another SEC Outdoor title to its resume.
Fletcher was among the athletes to win a national title with the help of Parris-Thymes that season with her improbable victory in the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Championships, her first event title in an LSU uniform. The Lady Tigers also won an NCAA championship in the 4x400-meter relay during the 2007 outdoor season to put an exclamation point onto the end of a tremendous season.
Having competed extensively at the highest level of international track and field for more than a decade, the former "Tiger of the Year" turned in numerous outstanding performances while under Shaver's guidance. Her professional career included appearances in two Olympic Games, six World Championships, two Commonwealth Games and two Goodwill Games among many other elite international competitions.
A specialist in the 400-meter hurdles, Parris-Thymes' resume boasts three Jamaican national titles, one Central American & Caribbean Championships title, two Commonwealth Games silver medals, a pair of Goodwill Games silver medals, three World Championships finals appearances and two top-10 finishes in the event at the Olympic Games.
Her success was nurtured at the collegiate level while spending two highly successful seasons as a member of the Lady Tigers' national championship squad. An eight-time All-American, Parris-Thymes won a total of five NCAA titles, five SEC titles and was awarded the SEC Commissioner's Trophy in 1994 for her efforts. She currently ranks No. 3 on LSU's all-time outdoor performance list in the 400 hurdles as she posted a top time of 55.17 during her collegiate career.
A native of Trelawny, Jamaica, Parris-Thymes graduated with a bachelor’s degree from LSU in 1995 after earning an associate of arts degree from San Jacinto College in 1992. She is married to Derrick Thymes, a former member of the football and track teams at LSU, and they have a daughter named Jana Marie Thymes.
The Parris-Thymes File
2005-Present • Assistant Coach
6 World Championships appearances
2-time Goodwill Games silver medalist
2-time Commonwealth Games silver medalist
3 Jamaican National Titles
1 Central American and Caribbean Title
5-time NCAA Champion
8-time NCAA All-American
5 SEC Titles
1994 Recipient of the SEC Commissioner's Trophy
2-year letterwinner at LSU
Coaching Records at LSU
16 NCAA Champion athletes winning 17 NCAA event titles
6 NCAA Champion Relay Teams
25 All-American athletes earning 148 All-America honors
21 SEC Champion athletes winning 39 SEC event titles
27 All-SEC athletes earning 110 All-SEC honors