Former LSU national champion Debbie Parris-Thymes enters her 12th season working as an assistant to head coach Dennis Shaver with the women’s sprinters and hurdlers as the group is poised once again to lead the Lady Tigers into SEC and NCAA title contention once again in the 2017 season.
Parris-Thymes brings a wealth of competitive experience and knowledge to the Lady Tiger program after wrapping up an illustrious 11-year professional career at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2005. She has 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 the NCAA Outdoor title in 2008 along with five SEC Outdoor and two SEC Indoor titles since the 2005 season.
Parris-Thymes has helped coach 20 Lady Tigers to individual NCAA titles, 25 Lady Tigers to individual SEC titles and 34 Lady Tigers to All-America honors over the past 11 seasons.
In all, 34 Lady Tiger sprinters and hurdlers have accounted for 175 All-America selections as NCAA Championship scorers since Parris-Thymes joined Shaver’s staff in 2005.
That includes the Lady Tigers winning their 14th national championship all-time in the 4×100-meter relay last June that helped clinch a sixth-place team finish at the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. LSU scored 29 of its 31 points in the sprints, hurdles and relays en route to earning their 10th top-10 team finish in 11 seasons at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Mikiah Brisco, Kortnei Johnson, Jada Martin and Rushell Harvey teamed to smash the Hayward Field stadium record with a winning seasonal best of 42.65 seconds for the 11th-fastest time in collegiate history in last year’s NCAA sprint relay final. It was a meet that also saw Brisco place fifth nationally in the 100-meter dash and Martin run on LSU’s All-American 4×400-meter relay team that placed fourth in the NCAA final a year ago.
Brisco proved to be the team’s breakout performer as a sophomore in 2016 as she won four All-America honors and was crowned an SEC Champion three times on the season.
Brisco became the first Lady Tiger in history to sweep SEC Indoor titles in the 60 meters and 60 hurdles in the same season en route to winning the SEC’s Cliff Harper Trophy as the top individual point scorer at the SEC Indoor Championships. She was later voted the SEC Women’s Indoor Runner of the Year by the league’s head coaches. That was just a prelude of what was to come at the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships where she earned All-America honors as the NCAA Indoor Bronze Medalist in the 60 meters and was the fifth-place finisher in the national final of the 60 hurdles.
Chanice Chase, a senior in 2016, was later among nine LSU athletes past and present to line up at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last summer. After wrapping up a decorated collegiate career with NCAA finals appearances in both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles along with the 4×400-meter relay, Chase debuted for Canada on the Olympic stage where she ran the 400 hurdles at the Rio Games.
Jasmin Stowers, another of the world’s emerging next generation of sprint hurdlers, put an exclamation point onto the end of her storied collegiate career in 2014 as she captured the NCAA Outdoor silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles, clocking her collegiate-best wind-aided time of 12.54 seconds in the national final. She followed the 2014 collegiate season by racing to a new wind-legal best of 12.71 at the USA Outdoor Championships, finishing her collegiate career only one one-hundredth of a second shy of matching Tananjalyn Stanley’s school-record time of 12.70 set in 1989.
Stowers has since dropped her personal-best time to 12.35 as a professional to become the No. 9-ranked hurdler in world history and the fifth-fastest American all-time.
Stowers did wrap up the 2014 indoor season as LSU’s school-record holder in the 60-meter hurdles when she crossed the finish line with an altitude-adjusted time of 7.96 to defend her NCAA Indoor bronze medal in the event. That performance smashed Joyce Bates’ 14-year-old school record of 7.99 in the event that was previously set during the 2000 season.
Stowers went out as one of the most decorated hurdlers in the history of the Lady Tiger team as a five-time SEC Champion, seven-time All-American and seven-time All-SEC performer.
The curtain closed on one of the storied careers in the history of collegiate track and field in 2013 when Kimberlyn Duncan stepped onto the track for the final time as an LSU Lady Tiger at the NCAA Outdoor Championships that season.
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 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 of the end of her career 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 all-conditions 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 for 2013. She also scored back-to-back NCAA silver medals in the 100 meters in 2011 and 2012.
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.
Like Duncan, former Lady Tiger standout Cassandra Tate wrapped up the 2012 campaign as a national champion as she recorded a collegiate-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 4×400-meter relay during the indoor season as she ran the second leg on a team that featured Rebecca Alexander, Siedda Herbert and Jonique Day as they won 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 4×400-meter relay performance in NCAA history.
Tate’s pro career is highlighted by taking the title of World Championship Bronze Medalist in the 400-meter hurdles in Beijing in 2015 as she now competes as one of the world’s best in the event.
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 SEC 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, 4×100 relay and 4×400 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 LSU’s 2008 championship season.
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. They were part of the largest representation of any collegiate track and field program in the United States as 12 athletes with LSU ties participated in the Olympics that season.
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 4×400-meter relay during the 2007 outdoor season to cap another tremendous season.
Having competed extensively at the highest level of international track and field for more than a decade, Parris-Thymes 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 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
20 NCAA Champion athletes winning 18 NCAA event titles
7 NCAA Champion Relay Teams
34 All-American athletes earning 175 All-America honors
25 SEC Champion athletes winning 42 SEC event titles
35 All-SEC athletes earning 131 All-SEC honors