Jim Garnham joined the Notre Dame track & field staff as an assistant coach for jumps in the fall of 2008. With the Irish, Garnham is responsible for coaching all horizontal and vertical jumps events as well as coordinating the combined events.
During his nine years with the program, Garnham has helped coach All-Americans, NCAA qualifiers, conference champions, all-conference honorees, school record-holders and Olympic hopefuls.
Among the standouts include six-time BIG EAST pole vault champion and two-time All-American Kevin Schipper, three-time BIG EAST pole vault champion Matt Schipper, two-time BIG EAST pole vault champion and two-time All-American Mary Saxer, two-time All-American Maddie Buttinger, All-American heptathlete Carly Loeffel, and most recently, three-time All-American pole vaulter and two-time ACC Champion Nate Richartz.
In 2017, Garnham saw pole vaulter Nate Richartz and high jumper Matthew Birzer earn All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Richartz, who led the jumps squad, vaulted to his second ACC title at the outdoor conference championships. Richartz also earned First Team All-America honors at the indoor national meet.
During the 2016 track season, Garnham was able to lead junior pole vaulter Nate Richartz to another successful season, as this time he was able to break the school record for the indoor pole vault (5.46m), win the pole vault at the ACC Indoor Championships, and place eighth at NCAA Indoor Championships. Garnham also had a strong freshman performer in the high jump this year, as Matthew Birzer was able to set the third-best height in school history (2.16m) in indoor. Birzer finished second at the ACC Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the high jump, earning him All-ACC honors. In the multi-events, Garnham coached seniors Brent Swanberg (Heptathlon, Decathlon) and Carly Loeffel (Pentathlon, Heptathlon) to All-ACC performances.
In 2015, Garnham helped guide sophomore pole vaulter Nate Richartz to his first NCAA Outdoor Championships and his first All-American certificate. Additionally, he coached senior Mary-Esther Gourdin to an NCAA East Regional berth and All-ACC accolades, while senior Carly Loeffel earned her first All-ACC honors at the ACC Outdoor Championships by finishing third in the heptathlon. Loeffel, who scored 5,501 points in the event, now ranks second on the all-time Notre Dame performance list. During the indoor season, Gourdin toppled a 12-year-old record in the triple jump and earned All-ACC recognition, while junior Brent Swanberg also finished the season as an All-ACC honoree by finishing fifth in the heptathlon and moving into third on the Irish performance list.
The 2014 season ended with Senior Logan Renwick earning his first Capital One Academic All-American Certificate. Renwick competed in both the long jump and triple jump at the NCAA East Regional Championships along with teammates Keith Mesidor (long jump) and Gourdin (triple jump). Renwick amassed 60 conference championship (BIG EAST/ACC) points during his career, captured a BIG EAST triple jump title and qualified for five individual events at the NCAA East Regional throughout his four-year career. All three jumpers, Renwick, Mesidor and Gourdin earned All-ACC honors during the ACC Outdoor Championship. During the indoor season, junior Ted Glasnow earned All-ACC honors by placing third in the heptathlon; his score moved him up to second all-time in the Notre Dame record book.
In 2013, Garnham mentored BIG EAST heptathlon champion Ted Glasnow and all-BIG EAST performers Carly Loeffel (Heptathlon), Glasnow (Decathlon), Logan Renwick (Long Jump), Ann Polcari (Pole Vault) and Loeffel (Pentathlon). During the outdoor season, Loeffel garnered second team All-America honors in the heptathlon after placing 15th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
In 2012, Garnham and his student-athletes turned in a standout season, as Kevin Schipper won both indoor and outdoor BIG EAST pole vault crowns for the third year in a row and was named an NCAA Indoor All-American after finishing fourth at the national indoor meet. He also earned a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the event. Maddie Buttinger also turned in a strong year, finishing second at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships in the pentathlon, and then finishing third in the pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Champions for All-America recognition. At the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships, Logan Renwick won the triple jump title, while decathlete Ted Glasnow earned all-BIG EAST honors with a third-place showing.
Kevin Schipper won two more BIG EAST pole vault titles in 2011, while Justin Schneider earned all-BIG EAST honors in the heptathlon at the indoor meet. Buttinger earned a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon, finishing 12th in the event.
In 2010, Garnham mentored BIG EAST indoor champions Eric Quick (triple jump) and Schneider (heptathlon) and indoor and outdoor pole vault champion Kevin Schipper. Schipper went on to become an outdoor All-American in the event. Schneider (decathlon), Quick (long jump) and Buttinger (heptathlon) took second at the BIG EAST outdoor meet to earn all-BIG EAST honors. Buttinger later went on to compete in her first NCAA Outdoor Championships. Quick also earned a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the triple jump, marking the first time a Notre Dame athlete had advanced to nationals in the event.
In Garnham's first year with the program, the Irish swept the BIG EAST pole vault titles as Matt Schipper and Mary Saxer each won both the indoor and outdoor pole vault crowns. Saxer went on to earn All-America honors at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, while Schipper advanced to both the indoor and outdoor nationals. Schneider turned in a runner-up finish in the decathlon to earn all-BIG EAST honors, before advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships during the outdoor season, while Buttinger finished third in the conference in the pentathlon during the indoor season and second in the heptathlon during the outdoor season. Kevin Schipper also earned his first all-BIG EAST scroll, with a second-place showing at the league's indoor meet.
In seven years at Notre Dame, Garnham has seen his student-athletes earn eight All-America certificates, 13 NCAA qualifications, 25 NCAA East Regional qualifications, 14 BIG EAST titles, 41 all-conference (BIG EAST/ACC) scrolls, eight school records and one Capital One Academic All-America honor.
Garnham joined the Irish staff after a three-year stint as the field events coach at the University of Tulsa. During his tenure, he coached an NCAA qualifier in the shot put, a USATF indoor shot put qualifier, 17 NCAA Midwest Regional qualifiers, four Conference USA champions and 20 All-C-USA athletes. His student-athletes also set 18 school records at Tulsa.
Prior to Tulsa, Garnham served five years as an assistant track & field coach at the University at Buffalo, where he worked with multi-event athletes, javelin throwers and hurdlers. He coached a USATF indoor heptathlon qualifier, a Canadian Olympic trials qualifier in the women's heptathlon, two NCAA qualifiers, four NCAA East Regional qualifiers and five Mid-American Conference champions. Garnham earned his bachelor's degree in history from Kent State in 1998. He and his wife, Kelly, reside in South Bend.