Feb. 12, 2001
By: Carl Zaparanick, FSU student assistant
To most, 7′ 3 ?” is associated with a professional basketball player’s height. For Shawn Brown of Florida State University, the height is simply the latest mark in his nationally prominent high jumping career. This latest feat was notched at the Virginia Tech Invite in Blacksburg, Va. He was later honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference as the conference indoor track and field Athlete of the Week for the week of January 14-20.
“I am very happy with the honor,” Brown says of the ACC award. “I hope it doesn’t stop there. There is competition out there that keeps you on the edge. I think, if I stay healthy, I could go 7’5″.”
This competition has consistently been a driving force for Brown to excel against his teammates, the ACC competition, and the entire NCAA. He currently has the best overall indoor mark in the ACC by 1.5″ over Malcom Reynolds of Clemson. As a collegiate track and field athlete, Brown has earned national recognition against not only the NCAA, but professional athletes training specifically for national, world, and Olympic titles as well. Brown currently ranks ninth in the United States, four inches behind the mark of Nathan Leeper (Nike). Under the International Amateur Athletic Federation, Brown ranks 28th, again behind Leeper. Brown’s accolades this season are additions to an impressive resume that has gone from leaping past defenders in basketball, to leaping over the high jump bar.
“My greatest athletic accomplishment would have to be my two, twenty point games back-to-back in junior varsity basketball,” Brown says. “However, repeating as state champ in the high jump at 6’10” each time would be my best track and field accomplishment.”
Brown is on track to graduate from FSU with a degree in criminology. However, his immediate post-graduate plans include accomplishing his dream of competing in the Olympics. “I would like to possibly go into the FBI, work a little, then train,” the junior jumper says. “I am talking to the coaches to see what I can do beyond this. Good training, and staying healthy are the keys. I just have to make sure the training goes well.”
With the success that FSU head coach Terry Long has had with former FSU athletes, such as world record holder Kim Batten and NCAA Champion Tonya Carter, Brown hopes to emerge as another athlete that has done well on the competitive level. Keeping him up to that challenge will be some of his greatest competition.
“David Furman from [the University of] Florida is probably be my biggest rival,” Brown says “There are a lot of good high jumpers out there, I wouldn’t say I fear any of them, but David would be someone I love to compete against.” Christian Bland, a former ACC high jump champion and a teammate of Brown’s also pushes him. Fortunately, they see one another each day in practice.
“I don’t like to make predictions because of the chance they will go wrong, but next year I hope to be ahead of where I am now,” Brown says. “After school, I am planning a good solid year of intense training to get my physical ability up and rest my knees. As for right now, I would love to make it to nationals.”
The junior from Tampa, Fla., enters the ACC Championships this weekend, and still has plenty of time to improve over the rest of the season. The sky is the limit for Brown, though he knows it will take hard work and dedication for him to reach his own vast expectations.