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Elmer Gross, 90; was basketball player, then coach, at Penn State

August 09, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Elmer Gross, 90, who coached Penn State University's basketball team to the 1954 Final Four and reached the NCAA tournament as a player and a coach, died June 29 in Chandler, Ariz., near his home in Sun City, Ariz., Penn State announced.

He played three seasons at Penn State, and was the Nittany Lions' leading scorer in his final season in 1942. Penn State finished 18-3 that year and played in the NCAA tournament for the first time.

Gross returned to Penn State in 1945 to begin his coaching career as an assistant under John Lawther. He took over as head coach in 1950, guiding Penn State to the NCAA tournament in 1952 and 1954 before retiring after five seasons. Earning a reputation for his use of the full-court press on defense and a fast-break offense, Gross finished with an 80-40 coaching record

Gross was born Jan. 31, 1917, in Homestead, Pa. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Penn State, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army during World War II, served in France and Germany and participated in the D-day invasion. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart after being wounded in a 1944 battle.

He later earned a doctorate of education at Penn State, where he retired as a professor of physical education in 1978.

Kay Dotrice, a British actress who was the wife of actor Roy Dotrice and mother of actresses Karen Dotrice, Michele Dotrice and Yvette Dotrice, died of a heart attack Aug. 2 at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, her family announced. She was 78.

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