Dr. Ben Plotnicki 1913-1981
Ben Plotnicki, who retired in 1977 after 32 years as a member of the UT Health, Physical Education and Recreation faculty, died in 1981 at the age of 68.
Ben Plotnicki married his wife Kathleen on June 4, 1939. He coached four years at Fredricksburg, Va High (1938-41) before coming to UT to begin work on his masters. Navy duty interrupted his studies. He spent most of his military time at Holy Cross University as a physical instructor. He returned to UT in 1945. After getting his masters degree at UT in 1945, Ben joined the physical education staff at the University of Tennessee. He received the doctor of education degree from Boston University in 1960.
He received many honors, including the Tennessee Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Distinguished Service Honor in 1965. UT Physical Education and Kinesiology Department annually presents the Ben Plotnicki Award which recognizes undergraduates for their professional promise and personal growth, with special consideration for fitness of mind, body, and spirit.
Dr. Plotnicki helped organize the Knoxville Track Club and was highly regarded as a starter and track and field official. As a charter member of the Knoxville Track Club Plotnicki was one of the driving forces behind the club’s growth and success. He served as starter for 28 years, including several Southeastern Conference championship meets, state high school championships and in the 1969 NCAA meet at Tom Black Track. KTC annual Ben Plotnicki Award is given to the most deserving official in the Knoxville Track Club.
“In the 10 years I’ve been here, he was probably the most authoritative and highest-ranking person in track and field in Knoxville,” said UT track coach Stan Huntsman. “He did as much for the quality of track here and in the Southeast as any one person. Besides that, he was a gentleman in the truest sense.” Ben is generally acknowledged as being a significant factor in bringing Chuck Rohe to UT as Track Coach thereby bringing long term national recognition and acclaim to UT.
Ben also was a handball enthusiast, bringing several regional and national tournaments to Knoxville.
Survivors include his wife, K.C. (Kathleen), sons and daughters in law, B.A. (Skip) Plotnicki, Jr. and his wife, Amanda of Fort Worth, TX, and John Plotnicki and his wife, Maureen, of Fort Collins, Colo.