Harry Groves, 89, the head track and field and cross-country coach at Penn State for 38 years before his retirement in 2006, died Sunday, the university’s athletic department announced.
Mr. Groves, who competed for Temple as a middle-distance runner before graduating in 1953, coached 227 All-American athletes during his time with the Nittany Lions, along with 21 national champions, 11 American record holders and 14 Olympians. One of his Olympians, Mike Shine, won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Games.
Mr. Groves was a fixture at the Penn Relays, where he coached 22 individual champions and four relay teams that won Championship of America titles, including the 1985 4x800-meter group that set a carnival record of 7 minutes, 11.17 seconds, a mark that still stands.
According to a 1977 story in the Evening Bulletin, Mr. Groves saw his first Penn Relays in 1944 and later ran there for Trenton Central High School and Temple. The week he served as an honorary referee at the 1977 carnival, he ran a marathon.
“Everyone is doing marathons for a different reason,” he said in the article. “A lot of young guys think they’re great. Guys like me know they’re not. Most guys don’t crave a lot of crazy publicity. When I run [2 hours, 51 minutes], I know I’ve done something good.”
Mr. Groves’ teams also won 10 IC4A titles and 22 individual titles at the Big Ten Championships.
He was part of the coaching staff of 12 U.S. teams in national and international competitions and served as assistant track and field coach at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.