Boots Garland

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Murrell Eugene "Boots" Garland

(Louisiana State University
track and field coach)

Born c. 1934
Haughton, Bossier Parish, Louisiana
Died January 11, 2016
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Spouse JoAnne Schoonmaker Garland
Religion Presbyterian

Murrell Eugene Garland, known as Boots Garland (c. 1934 – January 11, 2016), was the head track and field coach at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge during the 1982 season. From 1971 to 1981 and in 1983, he was the assistant track coach under head coaches Joe May (four seasons), Bill McClure (five seasons), and Billy Maxwell (one season).[1]

Garland was born in Haughton near Bossier City in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana. He graduated from C. E. Byrd High School in Shreveport and then LSU. He served for two years in the United States Army. In addition to his LSU tenure, Garland coached at the high school level in Baton Rouge: at Istrouma Junior and Senior high schools, Baton Rouge High School, Parkview Baptist High School, and University High School. At University High School, he was named to the athletic Hall of Fame. He was a consultant for LSU baseball, as well as for the professional football teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Dallas Cowboys. His success in those endeavors led to the establishment of specialty coaches by professional teams.[1]

He coached eleven All-American players in his eleven seasons at LSU. Garland was a speed coach under Skip Bertman for the LSU baseball team. In 1975, he was speed and conditioning coach for the Dallas Cowboys. In 1976, Garland was the spring training roommate of Tommy Lasorda, then the Dodgers’ third-base coach under manager Walter Alston. He coached Baton Rouge High School to the Class 3A state title in track and field in 1969; at the time 3A was the highest classification. He was assistant coach to E. W. Foy for the Baton Rough High basketball team, which prevailed in the 1968 Class 3A state championship. One month after leaving his position as an assistant track coach at LSU, Garland was named head coach of the new track and field program at Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge.[2]

In 1991, Garland was cast as Coach Pendleton, the high school coach of basketball great Pete Maravich, in the film, The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. Adam Buier (born 1976), a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, portrayed Maravich as a boy; Tom Lester (born 1938), formerly of the CBS situation comedy Green Acres, portrayed him as an adult.[3]

Garland had a history of congestive heart failure. He died at his Baton Rouge home at the age of eighty-two. Survivors included his wife, the former JoAnne Schoonmaker (born May 12, 1940); four daughters and their husbands, Alison Dias Edmonson, Dana Dias Sutton, Mitzi Dias Barber, and Laura Dias Murray, and ten grandchildren. Garland embraced Jesus Christ late in life. He was active in River Church South, established by the First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge, where his services were held and he is interred at Resthaven Cemetery.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Murrell Eugene "Boots" Garland. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on January 14, 2016.
  2. LSU legend Boots Garland passes away at 82. The Lafayette Daily Advertiser (January 11, 2016). Retrieved on January 14, 2016.
  3. Murrell Garland. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on January 14, 2016.