Adolph Plummer
Former Lobo track and field great Adolph Plummer.
Credit: UNM Athletics

A memorial service and reception will be held for Adolph Plummer, former associate athletics director and member of the track and field team at the University of New Mexico, on Saturday, July 9 from 1 to 2:15 p.m. at the UNM Alumni Chapel. The reception will follow from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the End Zone Club, located at UNM’s South Campus.

Plummer died Nov. 30 in Denver, Colo. He was 77.

Those speaking at the memorial include: his wife Carolyn; his son Kevin; longtime friend Neil Murray; former UNM Athletic Director Gary Ness; track teammate Pete Brown, and special guest John Carlos, former world record holder in the 200 meter dash and former Olympic bronze medalist.

"Adolph was a trailblazer for UNM track & field," Lobo head coach Joe Franklin said. "He really put New Mexico on the map. When Adolph set the world record, New Mexico took off. He set things in motion for Lobo track & field."

After coming to UNM after a stint in the Air Force, Plummer quickly became an attraction in the early 1960s when New Mexico track meets would regularly draw thousands of spectators.

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Plummer starred for the Lobos on the track during the early 1960s, and was best known for breaking the world record in the 440-yard dash while running for UNM at the 1963 Western Athletic Conference Championships. Plummer broke the world record in the 440 yard dash in 1963 with a time of 44.9 seconds, beating the existing world record of 45.7 seconds.

He was a three-time NCAA All-American, winning the NCAA title in the 440 in 1961. He was also named the 1963 Western Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year and won the 220 at the 1965 USA Outdoor Track & Field Champions.

Plummer was inducted into the Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and the UNM Alumni Lettermen's Association Hall of Honor in 1988, and was named a Living Legend by the UNM Black Alumni Chapter in 2014.

He, along with his wife Carolyn, had three children Kimberly, Kevin, and Cheryl, and a granddaughter named Galen. He was the loving husband of Carolyn for nearly four decades and an important family member to her daughter Laura.

In addition to his work as associate athletics director at UNM, Plummer worked for over 30 years as a teacher and administrator at Denver public schools.

A former student recently said to Carolyn, “Adolph was always encouraging and funny, yet very straight-forward and direct – he had a big impact on my life.”

For more information about the memorial, contact Pete Brown at