James Overbo finished his 12th season as a member of the Valpo track and field coaching staff, and his seventh as associate head coach in 2019-20, working with the jumpers and multi-event athletes.
Overbo’s 2020 indoor season saw him working with Valpo’s first female multi-athlete in over a decade. He was on hand for Shannon Lahey’s record-setting performance at the MVC Indoor Championships in the pentathlon, Valpo’s first conference entry in the event since 2008. He also coached junior Zack Fortener to Valpo’s second-best heptathlon in program history. He worked with Will Maidment when he entered the program’s top-5 in the high jump.
Overbo was on staff as the program transitioned to the Missouri Valley Conference, an elite track & field conference, prior to the 2017-18 season. During that season, freshman Carli Sowonik shattered a school record in the women’s pole vault with a 121-0.25, rewriting a mark that had stood since 2012.
Over his tenure at Valpo, Overbo has seen numerous athletes achieve tremendous success under his tutelage. In his first nine years, Overbo-coached athletes set 11 program records and earned 45 spots on the Valpo all-time Top 5 charts. In addition, athletes in Overbo's events earned 16 Horizon League championships, while 31 times his athletes earned All-Horizon League accolades. Four of his athletes have garnered spots in the NCAA Regional meet as well.
During Overbo's time at Valpo, a number of athletes have excelled in the javelin throw. Four times in Overbo's tenure, a Valpo thrower has claimed the Horizon League title in the javelin throw - Brett Maynard (2009), Vince Liuzzo (2010) and Jeremy Getz (2013, 2015). Getz set a gold standard for Valpo javelin throwers under Overbo's tutelage, smashing the program modern-era record with a mark of 212-9 in the event and twice earning berths to the NCAA East Preliminary Round.
Overbo's pole vaulters have a track record success. On the men's side, Justin Zosso claimed Horizon League titles both indoors and outdoors in the event in 2014 and 2015 while setting the school record in both venues. Overbo has coached the top four pole vaulters in men's program history indoors and the top two outdoors. On the women's side, Sarah Peters won the league championship in the pole vault outdoors in 2014 and indoors in 2015 and set the program record indoors.
Overbo’s jumpers have experienced plenty of success during his time with the program as well, highlighted by the performance of Jarrett Mickens. Overbo coached Mickens as he was a four-time All-Horizon League honoree and earned Most Outstanding Field Performer honors at the 2011 HL Indoor Championships. Mickens, who seven times earned HL Male Field Athlete of the Week honors while being coached by Overbo, broke school records in both the long and triple jump indoors and the long jump outdoors, surpassing 35-year-old records in all three events. In addition, Mickens was named Valpo's Athlete of the Year twice in a row.
On the women's side, Overbo mentored Jazmin Taylor as she became the most prolific high jumper in program history. Taylor set school records both indoors and outdoors in the high jump and was a four-time All-Horizon League honoree in the event, including winning the league title outdoors in 2015.
Overbo came to Valparaiso from McNeese State University, where he competed in the pole vault for the Cowboys' track and field squad for four years. He has also served as an assistant coach at the Lone Star Pole Vault Club.
A native of Austin, Texas, Overbo earned a bachelor's degree of general studies with a concentration in health promotion from McNeese State in 2008. Overbo has earned his USATF Level 1 Certification, as well as certification as an official. He also owns his USATF Level 2 Certification in the jumps and throws and is also a USTFCCCA Certified Jumps Specialist. He is also a USTFCCCA Certified Multis Specialist and is certified as a Master's Endorsed Horizontal Jumps Coach.