John Garris begins his first year as an assistant coach on Mark Montgomery's staff at Louisiana Tech as the long-time veteran of college softball comes to Ruston.
Garris brings 18 years of collegiate softball coaching experience to LA Tech as he has served on the staffs at Rutgers, Samford, Sam Houston State, Delta State, Henderson State and Shelton State during his career.
"John and I have been friends for over 10 years now," Montgomery said. "He has been involved with many great softball programs as both a head coach and an assistant. He has also coached at many levels ranging from high school to Division I. His vast knowledge and experience will allow him to help this program in so many different arenas.
"John's greatest asset is his ability to inspire. He will make players and recruits passionate about Louisiana Tech softball."
Garris served as the head coach at Delta State (1993-98), Sam Houston State (1998-2001), Henderson State (2001-03) and Shelton State Community College (2005-07) while serving as an assistant coach at Rutgers (2003-05) and Samford (2007-10).
"It is an incredible opportunity to be joining a great coaching staff at such an outstanding institution," said Garris. "When Coach Montgomery was named the new head coach at Louisiana Tech, it was apparent that a school with an excellent athletic history had landed a great leader. Having known him for years, I have always respected his knowledge of the game and his commitment to his teams. He's a great coach and even better man. I'm just honored to be on his staff.
"The opportunity to be a part of LA Tech's great tradition is both humbling and very exciting. Hopefully, I can bring a passion for the game and work ethic second to none. I'm excited to be here for our last season in the WAC transition to C~USA and the Montgomery era."
During his time at Shelton State, he helped lead the team to a pair of postseason tournament appearances and immediately helped the squad to its first winning season in four years.
Prior to his head coaching stint at Shelton State, he worked for two seasons as an assistant coach at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he was responsible for all aspects of the team's hitting. Garris coached the program's all-time home run leader in 2004 and helped three players' batting averages increase by 100 percentage points.
Under Garris' instruction, one of his players at Rutgers underwent a 170 percentage point improvement in batting average and earned the team's Most Valuable Player honor in both 2004 and 2005.
Garris earned his first head coaching job at Delta State University in 1993. During his six-year tenure at Delta State, he became the school's second winningest coach in school history and was named the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year in 1997.
He led Delta State to three-consecutive GSC West Division championships and coached two Academic All-Americans, four all-region performers and numerous all-conference players.
From 1998-2001, Garris served as the head coach at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and then went on to take the head coaching job at Henderson State University for three seasons before moving to Rutgers in 2003.
He also has four years of international coaching experience as he was selected to lead the United States during the Athletes International Friendship Tour in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
An active member of the community, Garris has been a constant SAAC Conference representative and is a member of both Athletes In Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is also a long-time member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Garris earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama in 1984. He also earned two master's degrees from Alabama in 1986 and 1993.