Adolph Plummer, who set a world record in the 440-yard dash while competing for the New Mexico Lobos in 1963, died Monday in Denver. He was 77.
Plummer set the 440 world record of 44.9 seconds as a UNM senior at the ’63 Western Athletic Conference championship meet in Tempe, Ariz. He won an NCAA title at that distance in 1962.
He once defeated Bob Hayes, at the time considered the fastest man in the world, in the 220-yard dash.
Plummer ran 440 yards in 44.9 seconds while running for New Mexico at the 1963 Western Athletic Conference Championships.
Arizona State’s Ulis Williams was considered the favorite. But Plummer easily beat Williams (whose time also would have set the record) in breaking Glenn Davis’ five-year-old record.
“I shared the pride of being Adolph’s teammate from the time I first met him rooming across the hall in Coronado Dorm in the fall of 1959, the night of the great WR on May 25, 1963 and throughout his life,” Pete Brown wrote in an email. ” … We send deepest sympathies to Adolph’s loving wife Carolyn and all family members.”
Plummer was born Jan. 3, 1938 in New York City.
He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he was introduced to track and field, before coming to UNM.
He became the NCAA champion at 440 yards in 1961.
Plummer attempted to make the U.S. Olympic team, but an arthritic knee slowed his attempts.
In 1965, he was ranked No. 1 in the world at 220 yards.
After his time as a Lobo, Plummer worked in the Denver public schools system. He also had a stint as an associate dean in the UNM athletic department.
He was inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and is also in the UNM Alumni Lettermen’s Association Hall of Honor.
In September, 2014, Plummer, football player Don Perkins and basketball player Ira Harge were honored with Living Legend Awards by the UNM Black Alumni Chapter.