Ox DaGrosa
Biographical details
Born(1902-02-17)February 17, 1902
Atlantic City, New Jersey
DiedMarch 23, 1953(1953-03-23) (aged 51)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Alma materTemple School of Law
Head coaching record

John "Ox" DaGrosa (February 17, 1902 – April 23, 1953) was an American coach and administrator who served as head football coach at the College of the Holy Cross and was a member of the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission.

Early life and careerEdit

DaGrosa attended Colgate University from 1922 to 1925.[1] He played every position on the school's football team, but was primarily a lineman.[2] After his playing career he served as a line coach under Lou Little at Georgetown Hoyas from 1926 to 1929.[1] From 1930 to 1933, DaGrosa was an assistant coach at Temple and attended the Temple School of Law.[1][2] In 1936 he was an assistant with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.[1]

Holy CrossEdit

In 1944, DaGrosa became the line coach and chief assistant at Holy Cross, succeeding Lud Wray.[1] Due to head coach Anthony J. Scanlan's war work, DaGrosa led the team five days a week while Scanlan was only able to coach on the weekends.[2]

In 1945, DaGrosa was named head coach and given a three-year contract.[2] That year, DaGrosa led Holy Cross to an 8–1 record, including a 46 to 0 defeat of rival Boston College at Fenway Park. Holy Cross received an invitation to the 1946 Orange Bowl, but lost to Miami 13 to 6.[3]

The following year, the team went 5–4, including a 13 to 6 upset of Boston College in the season finale.[4][5]

In 1947, Holy Cross started training camp with only ten players due to graduation and transfers.[6] By October, injuries forced DaGrosa to ask a member of the school's baseball team who had never played football before to join the team.[7] On November 5, 1947, DaGrosa stated at a testimonial dinner that "this would be the last year I shall be away from my family" (DaGrosa's family resided in Atlantic City, New Jersey while he coached at Holy Cross).[8] On November 24, the school announced that DaGrosa would resign following the final game against Boston College.[9] The Crusaders defeated Boston College 20 to 6 in his final game as head coach to finish the season 4–4–2.[10]

On March 7, 1948, Temple University announced that DaGrosa would serve as lead assistant to head football coach Ray Morrison.[11] DaGrosa also served on the coaching staff of the northern team in the 1948 Blue–Gray Football Classic.[12]

Pennsylvania Athletic CommissionEdit

In 1949, DaGrosa was appointed to the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission. During his tenure he served as the commission's primary spokesperson.[13]

On May 9, 1950, DaGrosa announced that the Commission had stripped Jake Lamotta of his middleweight championship because Lamotta had failed to defend his title in 11 months and refused to defend it against top contenders Sugar Ray Robinson or Robert Villemain.[14] The commission instead chose to recognize Robinson after he defeated Villemain on June 5 at Municipal Stadium.[15] On April 2, 1951, DaGrosa announced the suspension of Ike Williams following Williams' failure to appear at a scheduled bout.[16] On February 2, 1952, the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission chose not to go along with Indiana's suspension of World Heavyweight Champion Jersey Joe Walcott after Walcott failed to appear at an exhibition. DaGrosa called the suspension "unfair and arbitrary", as he had recommended to the Indiana commission that the fight be canceled due to Walcott's ill health.[17]


In February 1953, DaGrosa suffered a heart attack which left him bedridden. He died on April 23, 1953, at his home in Philadelphia after suffering another heart attack.[13] He left a wife, Mary Bennett DaGrosa, and two children, John and Ruth.[18]

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs AP#
Holy Cross Crusaders (Independent) (1945–1947)
1945 Holy Cross 8–2 L Orange 16
1946 Holy Cross 5–4
1947 Holy Cross 4–4–2
Holy Cross: 17–10–2
Total: 17–10–2
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "DaGrosa a Holy Cross Coach". The New York Times. February 26, 1944.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "DaGrosa Resigns Holy Cross Post". The New York Times. November 25, 1947.
  3. "1945 Holy Cross Crusaders football team".
  4. Holbrook, Bob (December 1, 1946). "Da Grosa Breaks Down at Cheers--B. C. Takes Defeat Hard". The Boston Daily Globe.
  5. "1946 Holy Cross Crusaders football team".
  6. "DaGrosa Glum as Only 10 Heed Call, Delay H.C.Opening FootballSession (sic)". The Boston Daily Globe. September 2, 1947.
  7. Holbrook, Bob (October 30, 1947). "Da Grosa Invades Classroom to Recruit Talent". The Boston Daily Globe.
  8. "DaGrosa in Tears at H. C. Testimonial". The Boston Daily Globe. November 6, 1947.
  9. "H. C. Doesn't Need Coach ---Myers". The Boston Daily Globe. November 25, 1947.
  10. "1947 Holy Cross Crusaders football team".
  11. "Ox DaGrosa Named Aide To Morrison at Temple". The New York Times. March 8, 1948.
  12. "Eliot, Ox DaGrosa North Coaches of 1948 Blue-Gray Game". The Boston Daily Globe. March 21, 1948.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "John ( Ox ) DaGrosa Dies; Pa. Boxing Commissioner". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 24, 1953.
  14. "La Motta Stripped of Title by Penn Ring Commission". The Boston Daily Globe. May 10, 1950.
  15. Sugar Ray Robinson's Record, boxstat. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  16. "Williams Faces Loss Of Lightweight Title". The New York Times. April 3, 1951.
  17. "Penn Board Dissents". The New York Times. February 3, 1952.
  18. John Ox Da Grosa Dies at Age of 51, Hanover Evening Sun, April 24, 1953

External linksEdit

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