In most cases, collegiate high jumpers are not the most recognizable figures on campus. That was not the case for UMBC’s Huguens Jean, whose performance on June 14, 2003 is the No. 32 moment on the #retriever50for50 countdown.
During his tenure, the young man born in Haiti was one of the most recognizable student leaders on campus. He was an extremely active member of the student government, served as vice president of the Engineering Council of Majors and was a member of the Presidents’ Council for Athletic Awareness. Jean was also been a dormitory resident assistant, and has tutored students in numerous courses.
Jean probably stood out more on campus than he did within his fraternity of field athletes. Although strongly built, he was quite undersized (6’0”) compared to national level high jumpers.
The computer engineering major built an impressive resumé during his junior campaign, winning several titles, including the Northeast Conference title with a school record leap of 7’1”. In January of 2003, he competed at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas and finished 10th in the nation in the high jump, coming up just shy of earning All-American status.
But Jean would not be denied that status at Sacramento State University on that June afternoon. He soared over the bar set at 7’3”, breaking his own record and finishing fourth in the nation.
The 2002-03 UMBC Male Athlete of the Year became the third Retriever to earn Division I All-American honors in track and field. His achievements on the runway and in the classroom landed him a spot on the Verizon Academic All District II Second Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in 2003, after earning First Team honors in 2001-02.
Dr. Jean was inducted into the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UMBC in 2014 and is now a senior engineer at Captricity, Inc. in Oakland, California.