Fast Track to Success
Fox59 Sports Reporter & SEC Network Track & Field Analyst Larra Overton Talks Career, Family & Living in Broad Ripple
Photographer: Brian Brosmer
If you’ve tuned into Fox59 to get the latest scores with Larra Overton, you might feel a little out of breath, like you’ve just had a workout. That’s because Overton oozes energy in everything she does.
Sports has pulsed through Overton’s veins all her life. Growing up in New Albany, in a family surrounded by sports, it was impossible for her to avoid playing in competitions or covering them. Overton’s dad was a high school track coach, and her mom was a cheerleading coach. So, it’s not a stretch to hear that she ran track and cross country starting at a very young age, competing in her first track meet at four years old.
“It was a meet for the coaches’ kids at the high school,” she says. “I ran a 400. It was such a thrill to share my dad’s passion and hear how all the others admired my dad so much. Still, today when we talk on the phone, the first topic of conversation is sports. The dog and food are next.”
Sports continued to be a priority during Larra’s high school years and beyond. She ran track and cross country through her high school years, then donned the cream and crimson to play for Indiana University. While at IU, Overton competed in several NCAA Championship track and field meets. She reached a turning point when a knee injury sidelined her during her Junior year. The injury required surgery which took a seven-month recovery period.
Being out while recovering from the injury meant an extra semester to compete in track and cross country, and she powered through it.
“It was rough,” she says. “But I was determined, and I came back fast.”
With her academic and athletic career winding down, Overton decided to get a jump start on her career. She finished her Bachelor’s degree and jumped right into her Master’s program, finishing her degree in Sports Communication in about a year.
After graduation, Overton got on the fast track, starting her broadcasting career in WDRB in Louisville. Overton’s next stop was WTWO in Terre Haute where she continued to cover sports. In addition to her local sports coverage, she gained experience doing side projects for Big Ten Network’s college football coverage. Things seemed golden for her, and most others with national broadcasting exposure might have been having dreams to move on to a major market like LA, New York or Chicago.
When an opportunity to move to Indianapolis arose in 2010, she went for it. Overton moved to the Circle City and hit a home run with a job for the Indiana Pacers as a reporter, host and game emcee.
“My goal had always been to get to Indy, and the time was right,” she says. “My priority was being within three hours of family in Louisville and New Albany. I’m blessed to be within close range of them working in the field that I love in my home state.”
She came to Indy expecting to love her job and continue growing in her career, and that’s exactly what’s happened. Overton’s career thrived with the Pacers, and she continued doing freelance work. She then joined Fox 59 in 2012, finally landing in 2016 at her current job at the sports anchor desk. Keeping her usual fast pace, Overton sidelined at the National Sports Journalism Center and the Colts, and she’s currently a track and field analyst for ESPN.
If that’s not enough, the sports guru teaches a high-intensity interval training class at a local gym. It’s a lot to juggle, and Overton admits there are some days when it’s overwhelming.
“There were moments along the way when I had doubt,” she says. “But I’m surrounded by so much support from family and friends. I’m still close to my coach from IU. She’s always had faith in me, and she squashes any doubts I have. I joke with her that she’s still coaching the same girl today that she started coaching back in 2001.”
As she has settled into the city that’s become her hometown over the last eight years, the sports-centric powerhouse has found so much more to love about Indy than her job — way more than she ever expected. She loves the energy of sports in Indy.
“There’s nothing like the excitement of football gameday here,” Overton says. “But the real electricity in Indy is basketball. It’s a basketball mecca with loyal fans of three top teams, Butler, IU and Purdue, colliding in one city. Plus, almost every kid here played basketball in some fashion, even if it was only in their driveway.”
The Broad Ripple community where Overton settled in is another reason why she loves the city so much.
“I’ve seen how Broad Ripple has evolved,” she says. “The community invests a lot in healthy living with its trails. It’s so runner friendly and dog-friendly. I love the variety of restaurants with healthy choices. It’s also a diverse, eclectic mix of people who live here with young single professionals, young families and retirees. It’s cool how the community invests in putting in new things while preserving the character and integrity of the existing historic homes and buildings.”
It’s obvious Overton plans to continue running her sports broadcasting race in Indy for a long time. She’s on fire for every moment of every sporting event she covers. As you might expect, she feels the old familiar thrill every time she covers a track and field meet.
“Oh, I’d lace up and hit the trail in a heartbeat,” she says. “But I love seeing these runners realize their potential. If I could say anything to my younger self, it would be to not exhaust myself with worry because there’s always another meet, so make the most of it. It makes me appreciate the time I had.”
With all the stories and triumphant championships she’s covered, it’s hard to imagine just one standing out. But she eagerly shares the story without skipping a beat.
“Covering the Cinderella Run of the Loyola-Chicago basketball team during the 2018 Final Four is the winner, hands down,” she says.
The 11th seeded team miraculously made it into the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament for the first time since the 1980s.
In just a short time, Overton has hit all her goals and then some, but there’s one more she’s got in mind.
“Covering the Olympic games would be penultimate for me,” she says. “I’d love to do it just like Bob Costas.”
Overton might just get the chance. She’s covered high school phenomenon and triathlete from Cathedral High School, Gillian Cridge. The Junior is in the middle of her bid to win the National Triathlon Championships. “I hope to follow her for a while. I could easily see her making it on the Olympic Triathlon team. She has a strong chance.”