James Ortiz enters his sixth season as Head Coach for the Colby Community College Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country Programs. In his first five seasons at Colby, he led the men’s teams to record-setting team finishes at the NJCAA Championships. In 2013-14, his cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field teams successfully completed the Region VI Triple Crown winning region championships in all three running sports. The season was also highlighted by a second place finish at the NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In 2012, his men have earned national team finishes of 4th place in cross country and 8th place in outdoor track and field. During his tenure, Ortiz has coached 33 KJCCC/Region VI Champions, 49 NJCAA All-Americans, five NJCAA national champions and 15 NJCAA Academic All-Americans. Coach Ortiz was named the 2014 NJCAA Indoor Track National Men’s Coach of the Year and has been named 2011, 2013 & 2014 Region VI Indoor Track and Field Men’s Coach of the Year. He was also named the 2012 & 2013 Region VI Cross Country Coach of the Year. Ortiz coached the 2012 3000 meter steeplechase national champion Edward Limo (Kenya) who also was named 2011 KJCCC Region VI Indoor Male Track Athlete of the Year. He also has coached three consecutive KJCCC Region VI Outdoor Male Track Athletes of the Year in Edward Limo (2012), 2013 10,000 meter national champion Juan Pacheco and 2014 1500 meter national runner-up Mike Kinuthia. In addition, Ortiz has coached 2014 KJCCC Region VI “High Point Scorer” Chris Speaks.
His programs have experienced academic as well as athletic success. His 2009-10 men’s teams swept the NJCAA Academic Team of the Year awards for all four running sports. Colby recorded the highest team grade point average in cross country, half marathon, indoor and outdoor track and field. In 2010-11, the half marathon team was named NJCAA Academic Team of the Year and the track and field program was named NJCAA Coaches Association Academic Team of the Year. From 2011-13 his teams were named NJCAA All-Academic for averaging a grade point average of 3.0 or better in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.
Before arriving at Colby, Ortiz served as the head coach for The University of the Southwest Mustangs in Hobbs, New Mexico for two years. During his tenure, his male and female athletes (combined) earned 11 Red River Athletic Conference Champion awards and 23 All-Red-River Athletic Conference awards.
Nationally, he produced five NAIA track and field national qualifiers with his lowest individual placing 11th. He also recruited the school’s first-ever NAIA individual national champion for track and field.
Prior to his tenure at USW, Ortiz served as the student assistant coach for the Texas State University track & field and cross country programs from 2006 to 2007. He competed for Texas State University as an athlete from 2002 to 2005 and holds the school record at 1,500 meters (3:48.35). He was a member of four Southland Conference Champion teams, two indoor and two outdoor. During the time he competed for Texas State he was twice named captain of the team and was a two time All-Southland Conference athlete. In 2013 Ortiz returned to the track to set a new T44 1500 meter world record for below the knee leg amputees with a 4:33.46.
Ortiz graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2007. He earned his USA Track & Field Level I coaching certification in 2008. Ortiz completed his Masters’ of Education in Sports Administration at East Central University in 2012. He recently graduated from Colby Community College in 2014 with an Associate of Science in General Business.