Basketball star Seimone Augustus becomes first female athlete with statue on LSU campus
BATON ROUGE – After all these years, one thing still remains about Seimone Augustus.
She's still "The Show," both at LSU and around Baton Rouge.
It has been more than 20 years since she chose to stay home and sign with LSU women's basketball out of Capitol High School, turning down Pat Summitt's powerhouse Lady Vols to do so. She loved her community and the belief that what could be accomplished just 5 miles from home could mirror what she might've done in Knoxville.
That legacy included three runs to the Final Four before an even more remarkable career in the WNBA. On Sunday, that legacy was displayed in her bronze likeness for all to see.
LSU unveiled its statue of Augustus in front its basketball training facility, making her the first women's athlete bestowed with such an immortal honor on campus.
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Signs of Augustus' greatness had already found homes around LSU facilities. Her likeness is on the wall where Tigers coach Kim Mulkey and her team practices. The three Final Four banners Augustus helped raise prominently decorate the wall, serving as a sign of her dominance and affect on the program.
Now her statue stands side-by-side with LSU legends Shaquille O'Neal, Bob Pettit and Pete Maravich. The most important recruit, male or female, in LSU athletics history, as former national championship winning baseball coach and athletics director Skip Bertman called her.
"That smile (of hers). That's what Seimone makes us do, she makes us smile," current LSU athletics director Scott Woodward said Sunday.
LSU women's basketball associate head coach Bob Starkey, who was on staff under Sue Gunter when Augustus played, said Augustus still serves as the benchmark he tells all his players to model on their path to greatness.
"Seimone Augustus was all about history," Starkey said. "Seimone's senior year, we led the nation in road attendance because everybody wanted to see her.
"She was the show."
Along with the Final Fours, LSU went 94-15 with Augustus on the roster from 2004-07. She won National Player of the Year twice and averaged 19.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and two assists at LSU.
It was first Augustus' father, Seymore, who challenged her to be great and taught what kind of work it would take. When she was contemplating between the hometown Tigers and Tennessee, Augustus told the story of someone approaching her for a story and asking her if she was good enough to take LSU women's basketball to new heights.
"I had real models, not role models, and that is the discipline you need to achieve greatness," Augustus said.
She accepted the challenge. And her answer now permanently stands with the other legends. A home where her legacy won't fade as it basks in light and love for years to come.
A statue of a Baton Rouge native, cemented for Baton Rouge.
"I finally got my name in one of those lights," she said, wiping away tears.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz.