Louisiana Women’s Coach of the Year – 2020
Jan Strickland Award Finalist – 2016, 2017, 2018
Dave Williams Award – NCAA Division II National Men’s Coach of the Year – 2012
Eaton Golf Pride South Region Coach of the Year – 2012
Sunshine State Conference Men’s Coach of the Year – 2012
Garrett Runion, who has been a part of two national championships during his collegiate coaching career, is in his third season as the LSU women’s golf head coach. Runion became the fourth women’s golf head coach in LSU history on June 8, 2018.
During a challenging 2019-20 season that was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Runion led the Tigers to a final Golfweek ranking of No. 12 in the nation. The team finished 13th in the nation in the final Golfstat ranking, used for NCAA tournament bid distribution.
LSU won three regular season tournament titles and finished in the top-three in six of seven tournaments. The three tournament titles were the most in a season by an LSU team since 2014-15. The Tigers began the 2019-20 season with a third-place finish at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate in Knoxville, Tennessee, led by sophomore Alden Wallace’s 2-under 211. LSU went on to win back-to-back titles with a tie for the crown at the Princess Anne Invitational in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the championship at the Magnolia Invitational. Freshman Ingrid Lindblad led the squad in both tournaments, earning her first individual title at the Magnolia with a 10-under 206. LSU finished the Fall portion of the season with a second-place finish at the Battle at the Beach in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Rookie Latanna Stone led the team with a 7-under 209 to finish tied for second. It was the second time in the season that the two freshmen posted under par tournaments and finished 1-2 on the team.
LSU didn’t skip a beat when play resumed in the Spring. Lindblad shot a 9-under 207 to lead the Tigers to a second-place finish at the IJGA Collegiate Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico while she placed second in the individual scoring. She backed up that performance with her second individual title as the team picked up its third crown at the Florida State Match-Up in Panama City, Florida. A quick turnaround led to a 10th-place finish at the prestigious Darius Rucker Intercollegiate before the season was shut down by the pandemic in early March.
Lindblad, ranked as the No. 1 player in the nation in early March, went on to be a Top-3 finalist for the ANNIKA Award and received invitations throughout the season to compete in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and for the International Team of the Arnold Palmer Cup. She earned First Team All-America honors from the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) and Golfweek. Lindblad became the fifth player in SEC history, and first in 15 seasons, to be named SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season. She was also named to the All-SEC First Team, SEC All-Freshman Team and the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.
Stone also earned an invitation to the Arnold Palmer Cup to play for the United States Team. She was named Golfweek All-America honorable mention and earned All-SEC Second Team, SEC All-Freshman Team and SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll accolades.
Lindblad and Stone joined junior Kendall Griffin and sophomore Alden Wallace in the largest class of LSU players to be named WGCA All-American Scholars.
LSU made up 60 percent of the Louisiana Sportswriters Association (LSWA) All-Louisiana Team – Lindblad, Stone and Griffin – while Lindblad earned Golfer of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. Junior transfer Kiana Oshiro was named LSWA Newcomer of the Year, while Runion earned Coach of the Year recognition.
Runion led the team to an almost 10-stroke improvement in team average from 298.28 in 2018-19 to 288.71 in 2019-20.
In his first season at the helm, Runion returned the Tigers to the NCAA postseason as LSU competed in the East Lansing Regional in 2019, finishing the season ranked No. 50 by Golfstat. LSU was in contention to advance to the NCAA Championships going into the final round at East Lansing, despite various weather challenges. Runion also coached the Tigers to a ninth-place finish at the 2019 SEC Championship in April, a five-spot improvement over last season and one spot out of match play.
2012-18 (LSU Men’s Assistant Coach)
Runion spent six seasons as the LSU men’s golf assistant coach and in April 2018 was named a finalist for the Jan Strickland Outstanding Assistant Coach Award for the third year in a row. A 2008 LSU graduate and three-year letterwinner for the Tigers, Runion has been instrumental in the LSU men’s team’s return to national prominence since joining Director of Golf Chuck Winstead’s men’s staff prior to the 2012-13 season. The LSU men’s team finished in the Top 10 at the men’s NCAA National Championships in four consecutive seasons from 2013-17 and had four former and current Tigers qualify for the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Tiger Luis Gagne received low amateur honors at the 2018 U.S. Open.
The 2014-15 season was one for the ages in the history of LSU men’s golf as the Tigers staked their claim as the premier program in college golf with a 4-1 win over USC to win the NCAA national title. From 2012-18, 12 Tigers earned All-America honors and 14 were named All-Southeastern Conference.
Runion’s first season back in Baton Rouge proved to be another strong campaign for the Tigers as they qualified for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships. LSU tied for 23rd place at the NCAA Championship held at Atlanta’s Capital City Club that year. The Tigers reached the semifinals of match play for the first time in 2014 and finished the job in 2015 with the national crown. It was the program’s fifth national championship all-time and the first in 60 years. LSU had previously won the national title in 1940, 1942, 1947 and 1955.
The Tigers were also crowned SEC Champions for the first time in 28 years and the 16th time in their history when they scored a three-stroke victory over Vanderbilt and South Carolina at the 2015 SEC Championships.
In 2016 LSU advanced to the quarterfinals of NCAA match play for the third season in a row. LSU just missed a fourth consecutive appearance in 2017 with a 9th place finish.
During the 2016-17 campaign, Runion mentored then-sophomores Sam Burns and Luis Gagne as they wrote their chapters in the LSU history book. The team won a school-record six tournament titles, including the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional and Burns became the first Tiger to earn the NCAA Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award from the Golf Coaches Association of America. Burns was also named the SEC Player of the Year with four tournament titles, 14 top-10 finishes and a new LSU single-season scoring record of 70.05. Gagne ended the season ranked No. 25 nationally in the final Golfweek individual rankings while his campaign included two wins, seven top-10 finishes along with a career-low season scoring average of 71.35 strokes per round.
2010-12 (Nova Southeastern Head Coach)
Runion returned to LSU after guiding the Sharks of Nova Southeastern to the NCAA Division II national championship in his one and only season as head coach in 2011-12. The run to the national title highlighted a historic season that saw Runion receive the Dave Williams Award as the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year, as well as earning Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year and Eaton Golf Pride South Region Coach of the Year honors. The Sharks also earned the team’s second SSC title in his tenure on staff. He served as the program’s assistant head coach during the 2010-11 season as Nova Southeastern captured the SSC titles in a strong 2010-11 campaign.
A native of Orlando, Florida, Runion called Baton Rouge home in four seasons from 2003-08. A four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and three-time SEC Community Service Team selection, Runion graduated from LSU in the May 2008 with his Bachelor of Arts & Science degree in general studies. He has also served as the Assistant Coach Representative for NCAA Division I on the National Golf Coaches Association of America’s National Advisory Board.
Runion and his wife, Meghan, have one son, Reid, aka “Rocket”, and a daughter, Riley, who was born on May 26, 2018 – 13 days before her dad was named the LSU women’s head coach.