LaVerne Sweat was an integral piece of Norfolk State’s Athletics Department from for nearly 20 years where she served as the head women’s track and field coach from 1988 to 2005 and retired as the school’s Senior Woman Administrator following the 2005-06 school year.
As the Spartans’ coach, her teams won a total 18 CIAA championships between cross country and track & field in an eight-year span from 1988-96. The Spartans earned four runner-up finishes at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships in her tenure.
Under Sweat’s guidance, the Spartans won two more conference titles after moving up to NCAA’s Division I, capturing the 2000 MEAC indoor championship and 2001 outdoor championship. In addition, Norfolk State captured five runner-up trophies in the MEAC.
Sweat, a Norfolk, Va., native, was the first female president of the CIAA in the 1980s. Among her accomplishments in track and field was being selected as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney Games.
Aside from her stint with the national team in 2000, Sweat was selected as head coach of the U.S. team at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania, in 1981, and was head coach of the Junior Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1993.
Sweat was also the head coach at Hampton University from 1978 to 1988.
While coaching at Hampton and Norfolk State, Sweat earned the CIAA Track and Field Coach of the Year nine times. She was the NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1981 while at Hampton and was voted NCAA Division II Coach of the Decade in 1991.
Sweat earned her bachelor’s degree in health, physical education, and recreation from Virginia State in 1959 and received her master’s in physical education from Hampton in 1972.