Volleyball has two Final Fours in 33 yearsBy Andy SchwehmSports Contributor
LSU's volleyball history is a short one compared to the University's 150 years. Nonetheless, it is packed full of history and championships. The volleyball program began a mere 37 years ago in 1974 under head coach Jinks Coleman, compiling a 23-6 record.Gerry Owens took over the program in 1977 and guided the team to a stellar 41-9 overall record en route to being named Louisiana AIAW Champions.The team qualified for its first Southeastern Conference tournament by 1982 and made it to the finals under Ruth Nelson. Four years later under coach Scott Luster, the team won its first SEC regular season and tournament championships, and the program was well on its way to establishing itself as one of the best teams in the conference.At the end of Luster's reign as coach in 1997, the Tigers had won four SEC titles and reached the NCAA Final Four in back-to-back years, 1990 and 1991.Current coach Fran Flory took over in 1998. It took her a few years to rebuild the program into a championship contender, but by 2005, she had the Tigers back in the NCAA tournament and won an SEC Western Division championship.
Golf adding to storied history under WinsteadBy Luke JohnsonSports Contributor
The LSU men's golf team is completing its 78th year this summer — a successful season that added to the program's 110 tournament victories, 15 Southeastern Conference championships and four NCAA team titles.The winningest coach in LSU golf history is Britt Harrison, who guided the Tigers to 16 tournament victories in his 11 seasons as the Tigers' coach. Chuck Winstead, LSU's current head coach, played under Harrison at LSU. Winstead is in his fifth season and has led LSU to six wins in the last two seasons.The most recognizable alumnus the Tigers have produced is PGA tour veteran David Toms. In his time at LSU, Toms racked up six career tournament victories and two first-team All American selections. Toms has maintained connections to the LSU golf program by serving as an adviser for the renovations to the Tigers' home course, the University Club.The Lady Tigers are completing their 30th season, and 26 of them have been with head coach Karen Bahnsen at the helm.Bahnsen was the women's golf program's first signee and was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame last season.
Tennis have 4 SEC titles dating back to 1925By Sean IsabellaSports Contributor
The LSU men's tennis team has had the most storied history of LSU'S two tennis programs, dating back to 1925.The Tigers have won five Southeastern Conference championships in their 85-year existence, in addition to five quarterfinal appearences, two semifinal appearences and one runner-up finish.Eight head coaches have led LSU, including W.T. "Dub" Robinson, the namesake of the tennis stadium, and Jerry Simmons, who holds LSU's all-time record with 278 wins. LSU enjoyed it's best season in 1988 when Simmons led the Tigers to a 27-2 record and a national championship final berth before losing to Stanford. LSU has seen 24 All-Americans and two SEC Players of the Year in Michael Chmela (1998) and Michael Venus (2009). The LSU women's tennis program began as a club sport nearly five decades after the men in 1973. The Lady Tigers have produced 12 All-Americans and two SEC Players of the Year to go along with three SEC West championships. Current head coach Tony Minnis is the winningest coach in program history with 253 victories. Dana De Watlington has the most career wins as a Lady Tiger player with 151, but Megan Falcon is arguably the most decorated player of late. Falcon, who completed her senior season in 2009, notched 99 career wins and holds the best career winning percentage in singles with a .846 mark.
Swimming, diving see much success in '80sBy Katherine TerrellSports Contributor
The LSU swimming and diving team haven't always been a mainstay on campus.The Tigers first competed in 1936, finishing third at the Southeastern Conference championship that year. But from 1940-68, LSU had no varsity swimming or diving team.The Tigers returned permanently in 1968, and the Lady Tigers joined the program in 1977. The Lady Tigers quickly placed second in the inaugural SEC women's championship in 1981.The finish marked the beginning of the most successful decade in history of both teams. The '80s saw the Tigers and Lady Tigers swim to their highest NCAA placing to date.The Lady Tigers placed 10th in 1986, and the Tigers placed sixth in 1988. The Tigers also won their only SEC championship that year.The decade also produced three individual NCAA champions, 38 SEC champions and 100 All-Americans.The Tigers and Lady Tigers have also had Olympic success, sending 14 swimmers to the Olympic Games. Recent alumni Miko Malberg and Heather Brand both competed at the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing.Eight-time All-American Rick Meador and Bob Percy are the program's only members in the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
LSU has had 52 track, field athletes in OlympicsBy Katherine TerrellSports Contributor
The numbers speak for themselves.In 113 years, the LSU men's and women's track and field teams have combined for 31 national championships and 47 SEC championships.In that time span, 52 different athletes, some of whom competed in multiple games, have represented LSU in the Olympics.LSU established the men's track and field team in 1897. The Tigers won their first championship in 1933. LSU didn't establish a women's team until 1981, but once it started winning, it didn't stop.The Lady Tigers won their first title in 1987, their sixth year of existence. Under former coach Pat Henry, they won 11 NCAA outdoor championships in the row.Between 1987 and 1997, the Lady Tigers also won eight indoor championships. Out of 22 possible championships in that time span, the Lady Tigers won 19.LSU has continued to win under current coach Dennis Shaver. The Lady Tigers were SEC indoor champions in '07 and '08, SEC outdoor champions in '08 and NCAA outdoor champions in '08.The Olympic success has been another proud tradition in the history of the programs. Triple jumper Sid Bowman made it to the big stage in 1928, placing sixth.
Softball produces strong history in short timeBy Jarred LeBlancSports Contributor
The LSU softball program is one of the youngest programs in LSU's 150-year history.The softball team first appeared on campus in 1979 and was coached by Carol Smith until the team disbanded in 1981.The team was reestablished in 1997 when the Southeastern Conference began sponsoring softball.Former Tiger coaches Kathy Compton and Glenn Moore each coached the team for two years before current coach Yvette Girouard joined the program in 2001.The Tigers have won eight SEC West championships, five SEC championships and five SEC tournament championships.The squad has 11 NCAA regional tournament appearances since 1997, which leads the SEC.The Tigers have also been to the Women's College World Series twice (2001, 2004) and have finished third on both occasions. Former Tiger pitcher Kristin Schmidt was the 2004 WCWS Most Valuable Player.LSU's .777 winning percentage since the team was reinstated in 1997 is the sixth highest winning percentage in the nation.LSU also has the best winning percentage in SEC play (.743) and the best winning percentage in the SEC tournament (.723).
Gymnastics currently in midst of golden eraBy Rob LandrySports Contributor
It is a great time to be a fan of gymnastics at LSU.Since the program's inception in 1975, no era has been more successful that the past five years, which has seen LSU advance to two Super Sixes and produce three individual national champions in four events.LSU coach D-D Breaux has been the only true figurehead the program has known, leading the Tigers for the past 33 seasons.In her tenure, Breaux has missed the postseason just once, in 1984. She has made 21 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 NCAA Regional titles, coached 37 All-Americans 12 Southeastern Conference individual champions, 26 All-SEC gymnasts and three SEC Gymnasts of the Year. Her teams have finished the season with a top-10 ranking 25 times, and they have advanced to the Super Six twice.Though the Tigers have not yet won a team national championship, they have had five different girls win individual national championships.The first was Jeanie Beadle, who won the balance beam crown in 1977. Nicki Arnstad won the floor exercise in 2002. Then came the flux of recent champions.
Lee turns soccer team into powerhouseBy Katherine TerrellSports Contributor
LSU coach Brian Lee has turned the LSU soccer program from mediocre to maginificent in five seasons as head coach.Most of the Tigers' accolades have occurred during his tenure, and LSU has finished with a better record each season since he became the head coach in the 2005-2006 season. Winning brought in fans as the Tigers drew an average of 1,294 fans per match in 2007, ranking LSU among the top 10 teams in the nation in average attendance for the first time.The Tigers were Southeastern Conference Western Division champions for the third-straight season this year — a feat they never accomplished before Lee arrived.The Tigers are coming off their best season in program history, going 15-4-5 with an 8-2-1 record in the SEC. The 15 wins tied a school record, and LSU made its first ever SEC championship game. Former Tiger forward Malorie Rutledge finished her career at LSU in the fall as perhaps the greatest athlete to play soccer for the purple and gold.