Stanford Olympian returns to The Farm | July 1, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 1, 2011

Stanford Olympian returns to The Farm

PattiSue Plumer will be the newest assistant coach

PattiSue Plumer, a two-time U.S. Olympian and one of Stanford's greatest distance runners, is returning to The Farm as an assistant track and field and associate cross-country coach.

Edrick Floreal, director of track and field at Stanford, announced the hiring Tuesday.

Plumer, a nine-time All-American, will work with the distance and cross-country runners along with Jason Dunn, under Floreal's guidance.

Known for her gritty running as much as her fast times, Plumer won two NCAA titles before embarking on a sterling post-collegiate career that was highlighted by an American record in the 5,000 meters in 1989 and a fifth place in the 3,000 in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Most recently, Plumer coached cross country and track at Los Altos High for the past six years and was as successful as she is popular.

"I really do love coaching," Plumer said. "And I've really enjoyed my coaching experience at Los Altos. I told myself the only thing that would get me to leave that job would be a coaching job at Stanford."

"PattiSue is a Cardinal for life, who is committed to the continued success of Stanford Track & Field/Cross Country. She understands the Stanford way and shares my passion for teaching and coaching," Floreal said.

Plumer ('85) arrived at Stanford as a good runner - she placed third in both the mile (5:10) and two mile (11:20) at the Colorado state championships while at Montrose High. But it was at Stanford that she became great. As a sophomore, she dropped her personal record in the 3000 from 9:42 to 8:55.

She went on to capture the NCAA indoor two-mile title (9:45.54) in 1983 and the outdoor 5,000 (15:39.38) in 1984. Her 1983 indoor 3,000 of 8:53.1 still stands as Stanford's fastest at that distance indoors or outdoors. Plumer also continues to hold Stanford's indoor record in the mile (4:23.5). And, she ran on three NCAA runnerup teams in cross country during a career that was rewarded with induction into Stanford's Hall of Fame.

Plumer won four U.S. national championships - two each in the 3,000 (`89, '92) and 5,000 ('90, '91) - and became the first to bust Mary Decker's hold of every American distance running record in the 1980s when she ran 15:00.00 in the 5,000 in Stockholm, Sweden, on July 3, 1989.

Other career highlights included Olympic berths in 1988 in Seoul (13th in the 3,000) and in 1992 in Barcelona (fifth in the 3,000, 10th in the 1,500). She also ran a 4:16.68 in New York City's Fifth Avenue Mile to set a course record that still stands. Plumer retired from competition in 1998.

"I wasn't a superstar in high school," Plumer said. "I was taught to be great. I had to learn how to be a great athlete and how to embrace my potential. Hopefully, I can carry those lessons to the student-athletes at Stanford."

"PattiSue is a perfect fit for our program and a strong role model who exemplifies what our University strives to instill in our student athletes," Floreal said.

Plumer, who served as a volunteer assistant track coach at Stanford in 1992 and '93, received her Juris Doctor (J.D) from Stanford Law School and worked as a lawyer for several years until returning to coaching.

"I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity I had at Stanford," Plumer said. "I'm really indebted to the coaches that spent hours of their personal time making me a better athlete and a better person. That was the experience I had and that's what I would like to give back."