The Penn State family today mourns the loss of one of our greatest coaches. Elmer Gross played and coached basketball for Penn State half a century ago. He died on June 29 near his home on Arizona at the age of 90.
Gross played three years for the Nittany Lions from 1940-1942. He finished his career as Penn State's leading scorer. In his senior year Penn State went 18-3 and made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
After his playing days Gross served in World War II as a second lieutenant. He fought on the beaches of Normandy and served in France and Germany. During his service to our country he earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
After the war Gross returned to Penn State as an assistant coach under John Lawther. In 1950 he was named head coach and led Penn State to the NCAA's twice. In 1954 Penn State went all the way to the Final Four in the tournament. He retired as basketball coach after just five years, but he earned his doctorate from Penn State and remained with the university as a physical education instructor until 1978.
Thank you for your service to our university and our country, Elmer. Rest in peace.