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Local high school, LSU track and field coach Boots Garland dies

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BATON ROUGE - Former LSU head track and field coach and coach at several Capital Area high schools, Murrell “Boots” Garland died Monday at 82.

Garland was an LSU graduate who took the reins of the Tigers track and field team as head coach for the 1982 campaign. He would resign at the end of the season but remained on staff at LSU in an assistant position under Billy Maxwell until he left the university. In total, he would spend a decade in assistant positions for the Tigers track team, helping to produce close to a dozen All-American athletes.

“Boots” was just as well-known for his coaching tenures at several Baton Rouge area high schools as he led teams in various sports at Baton Rouge High, Baker, Bossier, University High, Parkview Baptist and Istrouma. He was instrumental in the success of countless football, basketball and baseball teams in addition to his inspired leadership on the track.

With coaching accomplishments almost too numerous to list, "Boots" got his career underway in 1959 as assistant football coach and head track and field coach for U-High. He would go on to lead Baton Rouge High to a Class 3A state track and field championship in 1969, and hold a position as assistant coach for Baton Rouge High’s 1968 Class 3A state champ basketball team.

Garland was a much lauded speed coach, making his mark on a professional level with the 1975 Dallas Cowboys football team and the LA Dodgers. He brought his skills with him when he gave the LSU baseball team a boost under Skip Bertman, all while leading youth camps at the university. He would continue to contribute his skills as a speed coach for the LSU baseball team until 1992.

Facebook users confirmed that Garland died peacefully at his Baton Rouge home on Monday. Family and friends were already remembering "Boots" for his strong character and undying sense of humor.

Visitation will be held at First Presbyterian Chuch, located at 763 North Boulevard, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday, Jan. 15. A memorial service is to follow immediately at 12 noon. Close personal friend Rev. Russ Stevenson will officiate. The funeral is to be followed by a graveside service at Resthaven Cemetery, located at 11817 Jefferson Highway.


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