Lightning Bolt track coach Garlynn Boyd dies

Lightning Bolt track coach Garlynn Boyd, who was instrumental in the development of Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell and former Florida hurdler TJ Holmes, had died.

Boyd, a former state champion in the shot put at Dixie Hollins High, started the Lightning Bolt Track Club in 1991. Her youth program turned out some of the top athletes in the state — and the nation. 

Bromell, a former star at Gibbs, was named the Gatorade National Boys Track Athlete of the Year in 2013. A mural of him sprinting is painted above the bleachers in the school gymnasium. Two years ago, Bromell came back to St. Petersburg to put together a video with New Balance, his shoe sponsor. Boyd was featured prominently in the eight-minute feature. 

“Coach Boyd has been a great influence for me in helping me grow a mindset that will always help me stay in the game,” Bromell said in 2014. “She is a great coach, a motivator and a caring person.”

Holmes, who starred at Lakewood and Florida, is one of the top hurdlers in the world. 

Boyd coached other top athletes in Pinellas County, including former Dixie Hollins standout Kevin Marion, who still holds the state record in the long jump. 

For the past decade, Boyd had been in a wheelchair because of complications from high blood pressure and diabetes. Her right leg was amputated in 2013.

Yet she stayed devoted to track and field.  

For her, it was more than just coaching athletes. Boyd guided students through the recruiting process and helped them land scholarships.

“It’s my job and my coaching staff’s job to make sure that a kid’s dream to make it to college can come true,” Boyd said six years ago. “Going through the whole process can be difficult, and I try to help them as much as I can through that.”

The only time Boyd took a break from coaching was in 2013 when she was going through rehab after her leg was amputated. Still, she was giving advice from the hospital.

“I don’t think I could stay away from coaching for too long,” Boyd said back then. “I have no plans to quit. There are too many young kids that need me. I couldn’t imagine a life without it.”