Three former University of New Mexico athletes, all among the best to wear a Lobo uniform in their respective sports, will be presented Living Legend Awards by the UNM Black Alumni Chapter.
The athletes to be honored are Don Perkins, football, class of 1960; Ira Harge, basketball, ’65; and Adolph Plummer, track and field, ’67.
The Black Alumni Chapter will hold its fourth annual Trailblazers & Living Legends awards ceremony on Saturday from 5-7 p.m. in the Centennial Engineering Auditorium, 210 University NE. A reception will be held prior to the ceremony from 5-5:30 p.m. in Stamm Commons, which adjoins the auditorium.
A Living Legend award also will be presented to Rita Powdrell, class of 1968, a historian. She also has a connection to UNM athletics; her husband, Joe Powdrell, was a Lobo pole vaulter and long jumper in the ‘ 60s. Joe Powdrell received a Black Alumni Chapter Living Legends Award in 2012 for his contributions in business, athletics and civil rights activism.
Perkins came to New Mexico from Waterloo, Iowa in 1956 and left as the school’s all-time leader in rushing with 2,001 yards. He twice was a first-team All-Skyline Conference selection and was named a third-team Associated Press All-American as a senior in 1959.
He went on to an eight-year career in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. He played in six Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro in 1962. When he retired, only four NFL running backs had rushed for more than his 6,217 yards.
Perkins is a member of the Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame, the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Association Hall of Honor and the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
Harge, a native of Detroit, came to UNM in 1962 after two years at Burlington (Iowa) Community College. He was the centerpiece of coach Bob King’s first two UNM teams, which posted a combined record of 39-15 and often are credited with making men’s basketball the school’s most popular sport.
During his two seasons, Harge, a 6-foot-8 center, averaged 18.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He twice was first-team All-Western Athletic Conference. He played professionally for 10 years in the American Basketball Association.
Harge is a member of the Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame and the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Association Hall of Honor.
Plummer, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. and an Air Force veteran, came to Albuquerque in 1959. He is best known for his world-record performance as a senior in the Western Athletic Conference championship meet, when he ran the 440-yard dash in 44.9 seconds. That record stood for six years.
The tall, muscular runner also won the 1961 NCAA title in the 440. He excelled at 220 yards as well, once having defeated 1964 Olympic champion Bob Hayes at that distance.
Plummer is a member of the Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame and the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Association Hall of Honor.
Former UNM football player Ron Wallace, class of ‘ 77, will be honored with a Black Alumni Chapter Trailblazers Award. Others to be so honored include Geraldine Harge (Ira’s wife), Marsha Hardeman and Charlie Jones.
Ashley Carter will become the third annual recipient of the Charles P. Roberts Fellowship Award.
The Black Alumni Chapter was established in the summer of 2011 to promote and maintain contact among the University of New Mexico and its black alumni. The membership is being mobilized to assist with the recruitment, retention and graduation of black students. To this end, the Josephus (Joe) Long Scholarship Fund for high school and college students has been established with the UNM Foundation. Another major goal for the BAC is to establish a historical archive of the black student movement and black alumni contributions locally, nationally, and internationally.
For more information regarding the BAC or the Sept. 27 event, call Barbara Brown-Simmons, BAC president, at 760-265-1170.