In 1961 running for the University of New Mexico (UNM), Plummer became NCAA (USA Collegiate) champion at 440 yards. During his time at NMU (1959-1963), Plummer was a member of an outstanding 'Lobos' track team. In this period, he won four Western Athletic Conference (WAC) 440 yard titles plus three 220 yard titles and was voted a two-time All-American in the 440 yards.
On May 25, 1963, running in his last race for the University of New Mexico at the WAC Championships in Tempe, Arizona, Plummer shocked future Olympic champion Ulis Williams on his home track and beat Glenn Davis's five-year-old record, clocking a 44.9 for 440 yards (Williams also broke the old world record by 0.1 s). Plummer's only memory of the race was hearing the starter say "set" before the race began. Plummer's time was also fast enough to tie the existing world record in the shorter 400 metres (he equalled the old world record running the longer distance of 402.34 m)."
This run was the first ever under 45 s and broke the old record by the huge margin of 8 tenths of a second.
In 1964, Plummer attempted to qualify for the Olympic Games but trailed in last in his heat due to the flare-up of an arthritic knee, a condition that was to eventually end his athletics career.
In 1965, Plummer returned to the track specializing in the 220 y/200 m event. That year he became USA national champion at 220 y and was ranked number one in the world at that distance.(See below).
Accolades and Awards
In 1976, Plummer was inducted into 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.
After attending UNM, Plummer moved to Colorado and worked as an educator in the Denver public schools system. He also served for a time as an associate dean in the Athletic Department at UNM in charge of education.
Track and Field Rankings
Plummer was ranked among the best in the USA and the world in the 440 y/400 m sprint event in the period 1961-64 and the 220 y/200 m 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.
- "Track and Field Tradition Lobo Legends" (PDF). golobos.com. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
- Garcia, Nasario (2005). Saints & Seasons: A Guide to New Mexico's Most Popular Saints. United States: La Herencia Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 0974302260.
- "UNM 125: Plummer cracks record". dailylobo.com. May 29, 1963. Retrieved March 28, 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.