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Murrell Eugene "Boots" Garland

Murrell Eugene "Boots" Garland Obituary
"I've spilled more liquor on the bar than you've drunk in your lifetime." "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:11. Legendary Baton Rouge Coach "Boots" Garland departed this life to be with his Lord on January 11, 2016, after a remarkable 82 years. Born in Haughton, Louisiana, and a graduate of Shreveport Byrd High School and LSU, Boots was known and loved by numerous high school, college, and professional athletes in Baton Rouge and beyond, and was an inspiration to many current local coaches. Garland coached at Istrouma Junior and Senior High Schools, Baton Rouge High School, Parkview Baptist High School, and University High School, where he was elected to the school's athletic Hall of Fame. Garland served as both head and assistant track coach at LSU. In addition, he consulted as a speed coach for other LSU sports, especially LSU Baseball, as well as for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Dallas Cowboys in their 1970s heydays. His success in those endeavors became the inspiration for many professional teams to begin the practice of hiring specialty coaches. Coach Garland was a pioneer, being one of the first coaches to assert that speed could be coached, and he ran speed camps around the country to help athletes of all sports run faster. In 1977-78, he coached one of his future sons-in-law at the LSU track camp, with limited success. But then, he also experienced limited success with Peyton Manning. Boots was more than a track coach, however. He was known for his numerous friends, his nonstop sense of humor, the one-liners and hilarious, often self-deprecating, stories he delivered in the raspy voice of a long-term smoker, and a face only a mother and a wife could love. When the producers of "The Pistol" came looking for a "character" to play the role of Coach Pendleton, Pete Maravich's high school coach, there was only one choice. Several of Boots' off-script ad libs survive in the film. Boots earned his bachelor's in HP&RE from LSU in 1960 and his master's in education in 1968. He served two years in the U.S. Army, including 18 months with the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan. Much to the surprise of many who knew him when he was young, Boots embraced Christ late in life. Or, as he would readily admit, Christ embraced him. Boots became a true disciple of Christ and joined River Church South, where he eventually served for several years as a deacon and an elder. Boots leaves behind his beloved wife of 37 years, JoAnne Schoonmaker Garland; four daughters, Alison Dias Edmonson, Dana Dias Sutton, Mitzi Dias Barber, and Laura Dias Murray and their husbands; ten grandchildren: Steven Edmonson, Blake Edmonson, Erin Brandt, Jamie Edmonson, Amanda Walker, Natalie Arant, Madeline Barber, Charlie Barber, Jonathan Murray, and David Murray, and great-grandchildren: Reese and Emma Edmonson, Haydn Edmonson, Jack Brandt, Noah and Charlotte Arant, who all knew him as "Pappy" and will miss him dearly. Visitation will be at First Presbyterian Church, 763 North Boulevard, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on Friday, January 15th. A memorial service will follow immediately afterward at 12:00 noon, officiated by his close friend, Reverend Russ Stevenson. The funeral will be followed by a graveside service at Resthaven Cemetery, 11817 Jefferson Highway. Boots' grandchildren will be his pallbearers. Memorial donations may be made to or .
Published in TheAdvocate.com from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15, 2016
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