LU Football Adds Assistant Coaches
Former Oklahoma head coach John Blake and Willie Mack Garza have been named assistant coaches announced Lamar University head coach Ray Woodard Tuesday afternoon. Blake will take over the LU defensive line, while Garza will work with the Cardinals’ secondary. Ben Beasley, who has worked with the secondary the past two seasons will move to linebackers.
“We are very excited about the addition of John Blake and Willie Mack Garza to the staff,” said Woodard. “John has coached defensive line on the highest levels of the game, and has spent time as a head coach at the Division I level. He is a valuable addition to our team, and I can draw on his experience as well.
“I’ve known Willie Mack Garza since he was in high school. He was an outstanding player, and has coached at all levels of the game. He brings a great knowledge of the game with him to Beaumont, and is an incredible recruiter,” added Woodard.
Blake brings more than 20 years of coaching experience with him to Beaumont, which includes stops with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, as well as Oklahoma, North Carolina, Nebraska, Mississippi State and Tulsa.
Blake served as the defensive line coach for the Cowboys during their great run in the 1990s helping guide Dallas to Super Bowl titles in 1994 and 1996. The Cowboys boasted the league’s top defense in 1992 and 1994. During that stretch, Blake coached Pro Bowlers Leon Lett, Charles Haley, Russell Maryland and Tony Tolbert.
Blake left Dallas in 1996 to become the head coach at Oklahoma taking over for a program that finished .500 each of the previous two seasons. After struggling to a three-win campaign in his first season, the Sooners saw their win total climb every year under Blake’s guidance.
During his stops at Mississippi State, Nebraska and North Carolina, Blake produced some of the nation’s top talent. During that stretch, Blake had 15 players get drafted to the NFL, including five first-round selections.
A member of the Texas High School Hall of Fame, Garza has also coached the game at the highest levels including stops in Conference USA, Southeastern and Pac 12 Conferences. Garza comes to Beaumont after spending the previous season at Prairie View A&M, and brings 17 years of coaching experience to the LU sidelines.
He spent four seasons at Western Michigan where he helped guide the Broncos to the Mid-American Conference championship game. The Broncos finished the season ranked 13th nationally in pass defense. Garza left Western Michigan to coach corner backs at TCU in 2001. During his time in Fort Worth, Garza helped produce two-time all-league corner Jason Goss, as TCU won the 2002 CUSA title and advanced to Liberty Bowl. The Horned Frogs advanced to three bowl games while Garza was on staff.
After spending the 2004 season at Tarleton State, Garza moved to Fargo, N.D., to become defensive coordinator and secondary coach at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. He spent four seasons with NDSU before joining Lane Kiffin at Tennessee where he helped the Vols to a second place finish in the SEC East, and a berth in the Chick-fil-a Bowl. UT finished the 2009 campaign ranked among the nation’s elite in pass defense and pass efficiency defense. The following season, Garza followed Kiffin to USC where he coached the Trojan secondary.