Gross, Samuel : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Gross, Samuel

Samuel E. Gross

In a 1914 game against Northwestern, Gross was playing quarterback for Iowa and had been complaining to the officials about the opponents' violating the rules. He asked the referee to penalize Northwestern's end for holding, but the referee merely said, "Play ball!" Gross took the ball from the Iowa center, telling him he would walk off the penalty himself. Despite his protests, for he believed Iowa would be penalized themselves for Gross's actions, the center handed Gross the ball. The Northwestern players threatened Gross, but when he had walked past their defenders, he ran for the open, dodged the Northwestern quarterback, and scored a touchdown!

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
Gross arrived on the Iowa campus in 1913 and got his first chance to play against the University of Chicago. Assistant coach Bill Ruthrauff recalled, "Chicago had just kicked a field goal to lead, 16-0, in the third period when Gross was sent in to relieve Poss Parsons, who was injured. This was Gross's first chance on the varsity and his very first game at quarterback. He received the kickoff and ran it back 60 yards. In just four plays, Iowa scored..." Although Iowa lost that game to Chicago, Ruthrauff said that had Gross started and played the entire game, the Hawkeyes would have won. This assertion is all the more impressive because Chicago finished the 1913 season undefeated to become the national champion.

Following his debut against Chicago, Gross led the 1913 Hawkeyes team to victories over Indiana and Northwestern (60-0 and 78-6 on respective weekends). The Hawkeyes then defeated Iowa State, 45-7, before falling to Nebraska in the final game of the season, 12-0. Iowa finished with a record of 5-2-0 that year. In 1914, Gross returned to lead the Hawkeyes to a record of 4-3-0. They defeated Northwestern, 27-0, behind Gross's quick thinking and athletic ability. In 1915, Sam was named All-Western honorable mention and the Hawkeyes finished the season with a record of 3-4-0.


Career Dates:
Sam played quarterback for the University of Iowa from 1913-1915.

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)