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Montgomery County Hall of Fame Banquet
Vonnie Gros - West Chester U. and US Olympic field hockey coach
- When Vonnie Gros came to Ursinus
in the mid-50s, she
embarked on one of the school's most celebrated athletic careers.
In 1957 she
was named All-American in both field hockey and lacrosse.
She then played on the United States National Field Hockey Team for 13 years after graduating from Ursinus.
would go on to make an even greater name for herself as a coach.
At West Chester University she
coached the field hockey team to a 118-6-13 record.
also coached the lacrosse team.
also went on to coach field hockey at Princeton and Ursinus
, but it was on the national and international stages that she
really gained recognition.
was selected to coach the U.S. Olympic field hockey team in 1980.
It was the athletic highlight of her
life, only to be ruined when the United States decided to boycott the Olympic Games in Moscow.
would receive a second chance when she
was asked to return to coach the 1984 Olympic team.
Despite being heavy underdogs, she
led the U.S. to a bronze medal in 1984, a breakthrough accomplishment for the country in that sport.
has been inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame
(1988) and the Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame
The triumph officially doubled that of ...
The triumph officially doubled that of legendary head coach Vonnie Gros.
In 22 years, Krannebitter
has earned a 206-222-15 record and in 1994 became the all-time leader in wins at the school after surpassing Gros
with a 3-2 win over Rutgers.
"In my mind, it changed everything ...
"In my mind, it changed everything overnight," said Vonnie Gros, who won a pair of national titles during a 12-year run as West Chester's field hockey coach from 1964-75.
"It was such a change in the eyes of men, that our sports had comparable importance."
Prior to 1972, most women's sports were an afterthought.
Gros vividly remembers playing just a handful of games each season with no postseason opportunities.
And there was a tremendous imbalance when it came to the allocation resources.
"We went from playing 8-10 games and no playoffs to having a 22-game schedule and a championship to play for," she pointed out.
"Before Title IX the budget was so minimal, we all travelled in cars to games and the longest distance was to East Stroudsburg."
Those never happened for women's teams prior to Title IX, according to Gros.
"We called our field in south campus 'the rice paddy,' because it flooded out regularly," Gros
"To my knowledge, there were no full-time coaches back then," Gros
"The epicenter for competitive sports for women in this country was really in southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey," Gros
"I hated to see wrestling and men's lacrosse go, and they always blamed Title IX," Gros
"I don't think most of the players of today have any knowledge, or an inclination to know more, about what happened to pave the way for them," Gros
"I really can't imagine what women's sports would be like right now if it wasn't for Title IX," Gros
Baltimore Field Hockey Association - Club Hockey - NonBFHA Tournaments - Tournaments We Play
Where: Vonnie Gros Field, West Chester University
This year's recipient is legendary coach Vonnie Gros.
Already a member of the WCU Athletic Hall of Fame
, Gros' commitment to West Chester University
and women's athletics has been unwavering.She
mark first at WCU
after serving 13 seasons (1964-76) as the field hockey head coach.In 1975, she led West Chester to the AIAW National Championship - the first national championship ever contested in the sport of field hockey.Her
team returned to claim the crown again in 1976 during Gros' last season with the Golden Rams.
rarely lost a game throughout her
storied WCU career, Gros' astonishing five-year run from 1972-76 produced a 51-1-10 mark that is almost unmatched in any sport.Gros' collegiate success led her to become the head coach of the United States' first Olympic Field Hockey Team.
Team USA qualified for the Olympics in Moscow in 1980, but the boycott by the United States delayed Gros' pinnacle appearance until 1984 in Los Angeles.It was that year when Team USA earned its only field hockey medal - a bronze - in the history of Olympic competition.A native of Riverton, NJ, Gros is a graduate of Palmyra High School.