Adolph Plummer (January 3, 1938 – November 30, 2015) was an American track and field athlete. He is best known for breaking the world record in the 440 yard dash in 1963, the last runner to hold the 400m record with a time recorded for the longer 440 yards.
During his time running at the University of New Mexico (UNM) (1959-1963), Plummer was a member of an outstanding Lobos track team. In 1961, Plummer became the NCAA champion in the 440 yards event. He was a three-time All-American and won four titles in the 440 yards event and three at 220 yards in the Skyline Conference and Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
On May 25, 1963, running in his last race for UNM at the WAC Championships in Tempe, Arizona, Plummer shocked future Olympic champion Ulis Williams on his home track with a 44.9 second world record in the 440 yards (Williams also broke the old world record by 0.1 second). Plummer shattered the old mark set by Glenn Davis five years previously by the huge margin of 8 tenths of a second. Plummer's only memory of the race was hearing the starter say "set" before the race began. Plummer's time also tied the existing world record in the shorter 400 metres (440 yards is 402.34 metres). This was the first ever 440 run under 45 seconds.
In 1965, Plummer returned to the track specializing in the 220 yard/200 meter event. That year he became USA national champion at 220 yards and was ranked number one in the world at that distance.(See below).
Accolades and awards
In 1976, Plummer was inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Plummer was presented with a Living Legend Awards by the UNM Black Alumni Chapter.
Plummer has also been inducted into the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Association Hall of Honor.
In the mid-1970s (1974-76 in particular), Plummer's tenure as an educator at Cole Junior H.S., in Denver, coincided with the earliest days of Court-Ordered Busing for Integration. His involvement was instrumental in fostering tolerance - resulting in a successful, peaceful learning environment for Denver's suburban and urban students suddenly exposed to new cohorts and lifestyles and attitudes.
He also served for a time as an associate dean in the Athletic Department at UNM in charge of education.
Plummer died on November 30, 2015 in Denver at the age of 77.
Track and field rankings
Plummer was ranked among the best in the USA and the world in the 440 yard/400 metre sprint event in the period 1961-64 and the 220 yard/200 metre sprint event in the period 1963-1966, according to the votes of the experts of Track and Field News.
- Progression of IAAF World Records 2011 Edition, Editor Imre Matrahazi, IAAF Athletics, p 510.
- UNM track star Plummer dies, Albuquerque Journal, November 30, 2015.
- "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009." (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. pp. Pages 546, 547. Archived from the original (pdf) on August 6, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- Lobo Great Adolph Plummer Passes Away, University of New Mexico Athletics Official Site, December 1, 2015.
- New Mexico Track & Field 2007, History & Records, University of New Mexico Athletics Official Site, p.78
- Garcia, Nasario (2005). Saints & Seasons: A Guide to New Mexico's Most Popular Saints. United States: La Herencia Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 0974302260.
- Nick Georgandis, History of the 400-Meter Dash, Livestrong.com, Jan 23, 2014.
- "UNM 125: Plummer cracks record". dailylobo.com. May 29, 1963. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
- V B Price (May 29, 1963). "Adolph Plummer, Roger Bannister, and Bob Beamon". New Mexico Mercury. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
- "Lehner, Burly Sparkle in Olympic Trials Test". Eugene Register. July 5, 1964.
- Richard Hymans. "Olympic Trials History". Track and Field News.
- Bob Myers, Associated Press (June 28, 1965). "Track Victors Euro-bound after AAU Meet". Silver City Daily News.
- "Adolph Plummer 1976 Sports Hall of Fame Inductee". New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame. September 23, 2012.
- "Lobo legends will be recognized". Albuquerque Journal. September 23, 2012.
- "World Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News.
- "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 200 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News.
- "World Rankings Index--Men's 400 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News.
- "U.S. Rankings Index--Men's 400 meters" (PDF). Track and Field News.
- "USA Outdoor Track and Field Champions, Men's 200 m". USA Track and Field.
- "USA Outdoor Track and Field Champions, Men's 400 m". USA Track and Field.