June 16, 2005
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Chaunte Howard announced on Thursday that she will forgo her final season of collegiate competition to sign a professional contract with Nike.
“This is a good opportunity for Chaunte and we wish her all the best,” said head coach Alan Drosky. “She is planning on continuing with her education and graduating from Georgia Tech and will continue to work with Coach Nat Page. Chaunte will be difficult to replace as she has done a fantastic job for our program over the last three years.”
Howard, a junior from Riverside, Calif., ends her Yellow Jacket track career with three NCAA national titles, six All-America honors, six Atlantic Coast Conference titles, three ACC MVP awards and 13 All-ACC honors.
“I’m now becoming part of an elite track team with Team Nike,” said Howard. “I had a lot of fun competing in track here at Georgia Tech, and I thank all the coaches for the opportunity, but now track is my job. Even though it’s my job, it doesn’t take the fun out of it.”
Howard had her most successful campaign for the Yellow Jackets in 2004. She won both NCAA high jump national titles at the indoor and outdoor meets, finishing with marks of 6 feet, 3 ½ inches and 6 feet, 4 inches. Before the outdoor NCAA meet, Howard set the outdoor ACC meet record with a mark of 6 feet, 4 ¾ inches, also setting a new school record.
Later that summer, Howard set a new Tech record with a personal-record clear of 6 feet, 6 inches, at the BYU Invitational in preparation for the U.S. Olympic Trials. At the trials, Howard finished runner-up with a mark of 6 feet, 4 ¾ inches, to qualify for the Athens Olympics, where she finished in a tie for 28th place.
As a junior, Howard won her third national title at the 2005 Indoor NCAA Championships with a clear of 6 feet, 3 ½ inches, matching the school record mark she set in ’04. She captured her fifth and sixth ACC titles in the high jump at the indoor and outdoor ACC Championships, before losing a collegiate high jump competition for the first time in 29 meets at the outdoor NCAA Championships, finishing second with a mark of 6 feet, 1 ¼ inches.
Howard will remain in school at the Institute in pursuit of her degree. She will continue to train under Georgia Tech jumps coach Nat Page at Griffin Track.
“I made a lot of friends here at Tech,” said Howard. “I still remember my recruiting trip, where all the athletes made me feel welcome. It’s a family atmosphere. I’m still going to be here at Tech, and getting my degree on time.”
-GT TRACK & FIELD-