Growing up in Chicago, Carol Anna Plodzien participated in a number of recreational programs for girls, including volleyball, softball, track and field, and speed skating. She went on to play all through high school and college, and decided she wanted to become a teacher to share her great athletic experiences with the younger generations. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science from North Illinois University in 1971, Ms. Plodzien immediately joined William Fremd High School as a teacher of physical education. She remained there until her retirement in 2008.
Some of the highlights of Ms. Plodzien’s career were becoming the first ever basketball coach at the school and leading the team to win 50 consecutive games between 1972 and 1977, 12 conference championships, 17 regional championships, and five sectional championships. Under her tutelage, the William Fremd High School men and women came to hold the best record for conference championships in the mid suburban league for both men and women. They also notably played in the Sweet Sixteen finals five times and were in the Elite Eight in 1990.
To enhance coverage for high school athletics, Ms. Plodzien joined the Associated Press sports editors’ panel and did radio commentary for the state tournaments on WWMM-FM Arlington Heights Radio Station. She also co-authored the book, “Excelling in Sports Through Thinking Straight: The Right Choices for Coaches and Athletes,” as well as articles like “Motivating Positive Thinking” for the Athletic Journal and “Viewpoint: Is the High School Bench Decorum Rule Needed” for Women’s Basketball Magazine.
As a testament to her success, Ms. Plodzien received a variety of accolades over the years. She was named Coach of the Year by Mid-Suburban League North in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1990, and 1984, and District Coach of the Year by the Illinois Girls Basketball Association in 2001, 1999, 1998, 1991, and 1990. She was also honored with a citation from the Illinois High School Association’s Ed Hack Committee for the Restructuring of State Tournaments, a certificate of recognition for outstanding athletic achievement from the Illinois House of Representatives, and the A-E-O Meyer-Hart Award from Ray Meyer, among many others.
Today, Ms. Plodzien continues to contribute to her field. She missed working with her students after she retired, so she rejoined the professional community. She is currently a substitute teacher at St. Viator High School and a girls’ basketball coach at Maine East High School.