December 30th, 2011

Hyland's Heroes: Charlie Plamp

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Charlie Plamp
image from loucsaa.org

The following feature is a part of a weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland, called "Hyland's Heroes" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports. Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

 

St. Xavier Hall of Famer Charlie Plamp is this week’s Hyland’s Heroes feature. And while Charlie may no longer be a regular contributor to the Louisville CSAA, he is most certainly a part of its rich history and absolutely loves what the organization does for local Catholic school student athletes.

As Director of boys basketball Buzzy Heim mentioned in an email, “Charlie was the type of coach our program is all about: an excellent role model with both players and parents, and an excellent football coach.” Buzzy and Charlie go back a long way as coaches at St. Agnes with Buzzy coaching the basketball teams and Charlie coaching the football teams.

At 86 years young, Charlie readily admits that his memory isn’t what it once was, but he still fondly recalls his 15 years coaching at St. Agnes. And what he doesn’t exactly recall, his wife of 65 years, Ann, gives him an assist.

Plamp played football and ran track at St. X, but in that era the Tigers hadn’t yet started accumulating state championship trophies. “We weren’t very good back then,” he chuckled. “We were down at 2nd and Broadway and had to walk down to a field on Kentucky Street to practice.”

His contributions to the St. Xavier Alumni Association, where he served on the Board of Directors, as well as serving three times as President of the Tigers Booster Club and numerous volunteer positions granted him induction into the St. Xavier Hall of Fame. In his Hall of Fame bio, Plamp gave advice to current students: “Always be faithful to God, family, country and the Green and Gold.”

But before he volunteered his time, talent and energy to coaching and all of the St. X organizations, he got his first taste of volunteering when he enlisted into the Marine Corps right after graduation in 1943. He enrolled at UofL in 1945 and took a job with Office Equipment (now Environment) Company. He retired from that job in 1987 after 40 years of service.

His connection with the CSAA goes back to the 1930’s, before the organization formally existed. He grew up in Holy Name parish, was an altar boy there—Charlie can still recite parts of the Latin Mass with perfection—and played sports there as well.

“I played basketball a little bit and we had a football team but it wasn’t organized like it is now,” he said. “One of the priests in the Diocese got his school’s kids together and we’d get together and play on a Saturday morning. Nothing big, nothing formal. We’d just get together and play.”

With fond memories of the sandlot football and pickup games of his youth, Plamp was nudged into football by a couple of influences: his family and his good friend Karl Schmitt, the long-time Director of the CSAA.

“My four boys were pretty active and they are part of the reason that I started coaching the football team at St. Agnes,” recalled Plamp. “But they wanted to have a team and one of the priests asked me so I did it.”

“A lot of the World War II veterans started coaching then,” added his wife, Ann.

In addition to football, he coached boys and girls track and softball at St. Agnes.

“The kids were so active back then and by springtime, they had nothing to play,” Charlie said. “So we decided to start a track team. And that got me even more involved.”

He took his football team to two Toy Bowl championship games and won it all in 1966. Several of his players went on to become coaches.

Their son Michael—who ran cross country and track at St. X—has served as the Athletic Director at St. Albert the Great. He helped start their football program and coached basketball, volleyball and assisted with soccer.

As his wife Ann said, “We wanted our kids to be involved because I think sports and athletics build character.”

The oldest Plamp son, Charles, played football and ran track at St. Xavier. Two of the boys, Patrick and Edward, were starters on the back-to-back state championship football teams of 1976 and 1977.

Patrick, following his father’s and older brother Michael’s paths, coached basketball at St. Agnes and eventually started the men’s club at Ascension and coached basketball and flag football there. The lone Plamp daughter, Theresa, played basketball and was a swimmer at Assumption.

Charlie and Ann’s grandchildren have enjoyed great success at St. X, too. Will Rabatin was a member of the 1999 Tigers state championship football team. Michael’s sons, Michael and Neil, participated on state champion golf and wrestling teams respectively at St. X. Patrick’s son Gabriel was a member of the 2003 state runner-up team in football and Jordan was a member of the 2005 state championship swim team.

A family full of athletic and competitive excellence.

“I had a lot of fun with them,” Charlie said. “I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed coaching them. To see those kids play and have a good time was what it was all about.”

His wife Ann adds: “To this day, it doesn’t matter where he is, one of them will come up to him and tell him how much they appreciate what he did for them.”

 

 

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