June 28, 2002
Columbia, SC – South Carolina continued to rack up post-season honors in track and field today as freshman Lashinda Demus was named the both the SEC Female Outdoor Athlete of the Year and the SEC Outdoor Freshman of the Year on a vote by the league’s coaches. In addition to Demus’ awards, USC Head Coach Curtis Frye, already named the National Women’s Coach of the Year, was named the SEC Women’s Coach of the Year.
Tennessee’s Justin Gatlin was named SEC Male Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, while Bennie Brazell of LSU won male freshman honors.
In addition, Florida’s Doug Brown and LSU’s Pat Henry were named SEC Men’s Co-Coaches of the Year.
Demus, a native of Palmdale, Calif., claims the Freshman and Female Athlete of the Year awards after leading the Gamecocks to SEC and NCAA Championships. The National Championship was the first in any sport for the Gamecocks. Demus was the SEC champion in the 400m and was the NCAA champion in the 400m hurdles. The freshman was also a member of the national champion 4x400m relay team which broke a collegiate and NCAA record in the event with a time of 3:26.46. Demus set a world junior record to win the 400m hurdles at the NCAA meet. Demus also swept the awards during the 2002 season as she was also named the 2002 Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year.
“It’s wonderful to see the SEC, the nation’s top track conference, recognized Lashinda for the type of athlete she is and for all the work she has put in this year,” said Frye, who was also named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2000. “The NCAA women’s team title was a total team effort and Lashinda was a big part of that success. The fact she is just a freshman is a huge plus for our women’s team with so many talented newcomers this season.”
Coach Frye led the Gamecocks to the school’s second SEC Championship and earned the school’s first-ever National Championship. The women’s team claimed the 2002 national title by beating out UCLA and defending champion Southern California. Frye has also been named to the USA Olympic staff where he will coach sprints and hurdlers. The men and women crowned 20 All-Americans at the outdoor NCAA meet, the most ever in a season.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers as Coach of the Year, but this is a team honor which should include the assistant coaches, the trainers, the academic staff, the administration and everyone who works with our program,” added Frye.
2002 SEC Outdoor Track Award Winners
Women’s Outdoor Track Coach of the Year Curtis Frye, South Carolina
SEC Female Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year Lashinda Demus, South Carolina
SEC Female Freshman of the Year Lashinda Demus, South Carolina
Men’s Outdoor Track Co-Coaches of the Year Doug Brown, Florida; Pat Henry, LSU
SEC Male Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year Justin Gatlin, Tennessee
SEC Male Freshman of the Year Bennie Brazell, LSU