Returning to Eveleth, Pleban moved on as a coach and builder of amateur hockey serving as player-coach of the Eveleth Rangers again, and then holding the unique post of player-coach-manager of the U.S. National team that won the silver medal in London with a 4-1 record in 1950. Pleban was also named to reconstruct the U.S. fortunes for the 1952 Olympics as well. His team won the silver medal at Oslo, Norway, with a 6-1-1 record, losing only a 4-2 game to Sweden, while tying the gold medalists from Canada, 3-3.
In 1955, Pleban coached the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and helped lead its transition from small-college to major-college status. In his four-year tenure at UMD, Pleban's Bulldog teams never lost a game in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. As a builder of the game, Pleban also successfully solicited NCAA rule-makers to expand body-checking from half to full iceâ€”a move that would forever change the game.
Pleban went on to coach the U.S. team at the 1961 World Tournament in Geneva, to a 1-5-1 record. Then, in 1962, after only two preparatory games, he coached the U.S. to a much improved 5-2 record, which included winning the bronze medal at Colorado Springs.
Pleban was a Duluth resident, and helped to organize amateur teams and leagues through the 1960s and 70s, always promoting and advancing the game every step of the way.