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This profile was last updated on 8/5/11  and contains information from public web pages.
Chester County Sports Hall of Fame

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Well-Deserving Member
    National Lacrosse Hall of Fame
  • Well-Deserving Member
    the United States Field Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Member
    The WCU Athletic Hall of Fame


  • Palmyra High School
12 Total References
Web References
VONNIE GROS | LEARN MORE ..., 5 Aug 2011 [cached]
VONNIE GROS | LEARN MORE ABOUT VONNIE GROS... Chester County Sports Hall of Fame
Chester County Sports Hall of Fame
VONNIE GROS - Field Hockey
To say that Vonnie Gros' playing and coaching career was exceptional would be an understatement. "Legendary" might be more apropos, but even that seems to fail to do it justice. Few superlatives or awards could explain the impact that the former West Chester University field hockey coach has had on the sport to which she devoted much of her life, but an induction into the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame is certainly a start.
Gros was an All-American in both field hockey and lacrosse as a student-athlete at Ursinus, and took her talents to the United States Field Hockey team for 13 years following her illustrious college career.
She later earned a teaching and coaching position at West Chester State College in 1964, and became the head coach of the Golden Rams' field hockey team that year. Over her 12-year career as head coach, the Rams posted a sparkling record of 100-7-16. From 1972 to 1976, her teams lost a grand total of one game, and she led the Rams to two AIAW national titles during her time there. Not surprisingly, West Chester University's all-weather field hockey field is now named in her honor.
"It took more than me to get to where we got, but my thing was we play hard and we play to win," Gros said of her coaching philosophy. "In this age, that's a given. I also wanted these players to accept some challenges that would be very new to them and give them some opportunities to pursue hockey at the highest level - internationally."
As if her career as head coach of the Rams weren't enough, Gros was named the head coach of the first United States Olympic Field Hockey team, although with the rest of the country it boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. She remained the coach for the next edition of the national team, leading the Americans to a bronze medal at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, an experience she says was indescribable.
"It was quite a thrill," she said. "One of the greatest feelings in the world was walking out of the tunnel into the (Los Angeles Memorial) Coliseum. I don't know how you put that into words. It was special and it was spectacular."
Gros is a well-deserving member of the United States Field Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. She says being inducted into the Chester County Hall of Fame is just as exciting.
"I hate to put them (her awards) in any type of order, but it's right up there very close to my induction into the National Field Hockey Hall of Fame because my career started here in West Chester," she said.
Golden Rams, 2 Feb 2004 [cached]
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 made her 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.
Although she 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.
Montgomery County Hall of Fame Banquet, 25 Aug 2010 [cached]
Vonnie Gros - West Chester U. and US Olympic field hockey coach
Vonnie Gros - 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. But she 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. She also coached the lacrosse team. Gros 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. She 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. Fortunately, Gros 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. She has been inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame (1988) and the Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2002).
The triumph officially doubled that of ..., 31 Oct 2008 [cached]
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 ..., 22 June 2012 [cached]
"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." Overnight stays? 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 said.
"To my knowledge, there were no full-time coaches back then," Gros said.
"The epicenter for competitive sports for women in this country was really in southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey," Gros said.
"I hated to see wrestling and men's lacrosse go, and they always blamed Title IX," Gros said.
"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 said.
"I really can't imagine what women's sports would be like right now if it wasn't for Title IX," Gros said.
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