Former LSU Track & Field Coach Garland Dies, 82
BATON ROUGE – Murrell “Boots” Garland, LSU’s head track and field coach during the 1982 season and longtime assistant coach with the Tigers during his time with the program, died Monday at his home in Baton Rouge. He was 82.
Garland, an LSU graduate from Haughton, Louisiana, spent 10 years during two separate stints as an assistant coach with the Tigers under three head coaches in Joe May, Bill McClure and Billy Maxwell.
Garland worked under May for four seasons before spending another five seasons as an assistant coach under McClure before his retirement in 1981. That’s when Garland was handed the reigns of LSU’s men’s team ahead of the 1982 season. After resigning his position, he remained on staff as one of Maxwell’s assistants for the 1983 season before leaving the program for good that year.
During his tenure as head coach and assistant of the LSU Track & Field program, Garland coached a total of 11 All-Americans in those 11 seasons in the 1970s and 1980s.
A renowned speed coach in his day, Garland conducted frequent youth camps and worked with the LSU Baseball team under legendary head coach Skip Bertman to help players improve their agility and base-running. He also spent time as the speed and conditioning coach for the Dallas Cowboys in 1975 and also spent spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1976, Garland was the spring training roommate of Tommy Lasorda who was then the Dodgers’ third-base coach under legendary manager Walter Alston.
Not only did Garland make a name for himself in college and pro sports, but he was also a longtime coach at five area high schools in football, basketball and track and field. That included stints at University High, Baton Rouge High, Istrouma, Baker, Parkview Baptist and Bossier high schools.
He first coached Baton Rouge High School to the Class 3A state title in track and field in 1969, which was then the highest classification in the Louisiana High School Athletics Association. He was also an assistant coach for the BRHS basketball team that won the 1968 Class 3A state championship under head coach E.W. Foy.
A month after leaving his position as an assistant track coach at LSU, Garland took over the fledgling track and field program at Parkview Baptist in Baton Rouge.Longtime friend Pat Flanagan told The Advocate on Monday that Garland suffered from congestive heart failure for 12 years and died peacefully in his Baton Rouge home. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.