Portrait of Grant as Vikings head coach
Harry Peter Grant, Jr. |
May 20 1927
|Career highlights and awards|
1965 CFL Coach of the Year
1969 NFL Coach of the Year
4x NFL/NFC title winning coach, Minnesota Vikings
2x All-Big Ten as football player, Univ. of Minnesota
Harry Peter "Bud" Grant, Jr (born May 20, 1927) is the former longtime American football head coach of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL) for eighteen seasons. Grant was the second (1967–83) and fourth (1985) head coach of the team. Prior to coaching the Vikings, he was the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for ten seasons. Along with being the winningest coach in Vikings history, Grant is the third winningest professional football coach, behind Don Shula and George Halas, with a combined 290 wins in the NFL and CFL. Grant was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Grant attended the University of Minnesota, and was a three sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. Following college, he had a professional playing career for the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Childhood[edit | edit source]
Bud Grant was born on May 20, 1927 in Superior, Wisconsin to Harry Peter Sr. and Bernice Grant. His mother called him "Buddy Boy", which later became "Bud". As a child, Grant was diagnosed with poliomyelitis and a doctor suggested becoming active in sports to strengthen his weakened leg muscles over time. He started with baseball then added basketball and football as he got older. Due to a lack of organized school teams, he arranged to have football games between neighborhoods and contacted kids from other schools to participate. During the weekends, he would spend time outdoors alone hunting rabbits. In his late teens and college years, he played organized baseball in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Family[edit | edit source]
Bud married his wife Pat (formerly Patricia Bellew), a fellow Wisconsin native, (born March 28, 1927) in 1950, and they eventually would have six children. Bud's son, Mike Grant, has been the football head coach for Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota since 1992. Mike has coached Eden Prairie to six state championships in twelve years. Bud Grant's grandson, Ryan Grant, was a quarterback, and linebacker at Eden Prairie and now he plays at the University of Minnesota as a linebacker. Bud's granddaughter Jenny is married to former NFL quarterback Gibran Hamdan. Bud's wife Pat died on March 4, 2009, succumbing to the effects of Parkinson's Disease.
Playing career[edit | edit source]
High school and college[edit | edit source]
Grant played football, basketball, and baseball at Superior High School. He graduated from high school in 1945 and enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois and played on the football team coached by Paul Brown. Using an acceptance letter from the University of Wisconsin–Madison to be discharged from the service, Grant decided to attend the University of Minnesota instead. He was a three sport, nine letterman athlete in football, basketball, and baseball for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, earning All-Big Ten honors in football twice.
Professional basketball[edit | edit source]
After leaving the University of Minnesota, Grant was selected in both the NFL and NBA Draft. He was selected in the first round (fourteenth overall) of the 1950 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and fourth round (forty-second overall) selection of the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1950 NBA Draft. He played thirty-five games during the 1949-50 NBA season and signed with the Lakers for the 1950-51 NBA season. He chose to continue his basketball career with the Lakers because they were local and because he was offered a raise to stay for the season. Grant's close personal friend, Sid Hartman, was the Lakers' general manager, which may have influenced his decision to remain with the team. He averaged 2.6 points per game in his two seasons as a reserve with the Lakers and was a member of the 1950 championship team.
Professional football[edit | edit source]
After two seasons in the NBA, Grant decided to end his professional basketball career. He contacted the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL and agreed to play for the team during the 1951 NFL season. In his first season with the Eagles, Grant played as a defensive end and led the team in sacks (an unofficial statistic at the time). He switched to offense as a wide receiver for his second season with the club and ranked second in the NFL for receiving yardage, with 997 yards on fifty-six catches, including seven touchdowns.
Grant's contract expired at the end of the 1952 NFL season and the Eagles refused to pay him what he thought he was worth. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL had been interested in Grant while in college. Grant left for Winnipeg, Canada in 1953 and became the first professional player to "play out his option" and leave for another team. He played for the Blue Bombers until 1956 as an offensive end and was named a Western Conference all-star three times. He led the Western Conference in pass receptions for the 1953, 1954, and 1956 seasons and receiving yards for the 1953 and 1956 seasons. He also holds the distinction of having five interceptions in a playoff game, played on October 28, 1953, which is a CFL record. The Blue Bombers played for the Grey Cup in 1953, but lost to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 41st Grey Cup game.
Coaching career[edit | edit source]
Winnipeg Blue Bombers[edit | edit source]
Blue Bombers management decided that they needed a new coach prior to the 1957 season. On January 30, 1956, Grant accepted the Blue Bombers head coaching position after impressing management with his ability to make adjustments on offense and defense as a player. Club president, J.T. Russell, thought that Grant could coach even though nobody else did. Grant would remain the head coach of the Blue Bombers until 1966.
During his ten seasons as head coach in Winnipeg, he led the team to six Grey Cup appearances, winning the championship four times in 1958, 1959, 1961, and 1962. He finished his Blue Bombers coaching career with a regular season record of 105 wins, 53 loses, and two ties and an overall record of 122 wins, 66 loses, and 3 ties. Grant was the CFL Coach of the Year in 1965. Grant took on additional responsibilities as a club manager between 1964 and 1966. Max Winter, the Minnesota Vikings founder, contacted Grant in 1961 and asked him to coach the new NFL expansion team. Grant declined the offer and remained in Winnipeg until 1967 when Winter and General Manager Jim Finks were successful in luring Grant to Minnesota.
Minnesota Vikings[edit | edit source]
Grant continued his coaching success in the NFL as he took over from original coach, Norm Van Brocklin. Over his tenure as Vikings head coach, Grant was known for instilling discipline in his teams and displaying a lack of emotion during games. He believed that football is a game of controlled emotion and teams would not follow the coach's lead if he were to panic or lose his poise during the course of a game. He required his team to stand at attention in a straight line during the entire national anthem played before the game and even had national anthem practice. Grant required outdoor practice during the winter to get players used to the cold weather and would not allow heaters on the sidelines during games.
In his second year, Grant led the team to a divisional championship and his first NFL playoffs appearance. In 1969, he led the team to its first NFL Championship and their first appearance in the Super Bowl. The Vikings lost in Super Bowl IV to the American Football League champion Kansas City Chiefs. During the 1970s, the Vikings would appear in three more Super Bowls (VIII, IX, and XI) under Grant and lose each one, but was the first coach to lead a team to four Super Bowls. He retired after the 1983 NFL season and was succeeded by Les Steckel, who led the team to a 3-13 record the following season. Steckel was fired as head coach after the 1984 season and Grant returned as coach for the Vikings in 1985. After two seasons in which the Vikings failed to finish above .500, he stepped down again. Grant retired as the eighth winningest coach in NFL history with an overall record of 161 wins, 99 losses, and 5 ties. As of 2010, he also remains the most successful coach in Vikings history. During his tenure with the Vikings, he led the Vikings to four Super Bowls, eleven division titles, and four conference championships.
Head coaching record[edit | edit source]
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|WPG||1957||12||4||0||.750||2nd in W.I.F.U||2||1||0.667||Lost to Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 45th Grey Cup|
|WPG||1958||13||3||0||.813||1st in WIFU Conference||2||0||1.000||Defeated Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 46th Grey Cup|
|WPG||1959||12||4||0||.750||1st in West Conference||2||0||1.000||Defeated Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 47th Grey Cup|
|WPG||1960||14||2||0||.875||1st in West Conference||0||1||.000||Lost to Edmonton Eskimos in Conference Finals|
|WPG||1961||13||3||0||.813||1st in West Conference||2||0||1.000||Defeated Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 49th Grey Cup|
|WPG||1962||11||5||0||.688||1st in West Conference||2||0||1.000||Defeated Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 50th Grey Cup|
|WPG||1963||7||9||0||.438||4th in West Conference||-||-||-||-|
|WPG||1964||1||14||1||.094||5th in West Conference||-||-||-||-|
|WPG||1965||11||5||0||.688||2nd in West Conference||2||1||.667||Lost to Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 53rd Grey Cup|
|WPG||1966||8||7||1||.531||2nd in West Conference||1||1||.500||Lost to Saskatchewan Roughriders in Conference Finals|
|MIN||1967||3||8||3||.273||4th in NFL Central||-||-||-||-|
|MIN||1968||8||6||0||.571||1st in NFL Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Baltimore Colts in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1969||12||2||0||.857||1st in NFL Central||2||1||.667||Lost to Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV|
|MIN||1970||12||2||0||.857||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to San Francisco 49ers in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1971||11||3||0||.786||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Dallas Cowboys in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1972||7||7||0||.500||3rd in NFC Central||-||-||-||-|
|MIN||1973||12||2||0||.857||1st in NFC Central||2||1||.667||Lost to Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII|
|MIN||1974||10||4||0||.714||1st in NFC Central||2||1||.667||Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX|
|MIN||1975||12||2||0||.857||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Dallas Cowboys in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1976||11||2||1||.821||1st in NFC Central||2||1||.667||Lost to Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XI|
|MIN||1977||9||5||0||.643||1st in NFC Central||1||1||.500||Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Championship Game|
|MIN||1978||8||7||1||.531||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1979||7||9||0||.438||3rd in NFC Central||-||-||-||-|
|MIN||1980||9||7||0||.563||1st in NFC Central||0||1||.000||Lost to Philadelphia Eagles in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1981||7||9||0||.438||4th in NFC Central||-||-||-||-|
|MIN||1982*||5||4||0||.556||4th in NFC||1||1||.500||Lost to Washington Redskins in Divisional Round|
|MIN||1983||8||8||0||.500||4th in NFC Central||-||-||-||-|
|MIN||1985||7||9||0||.438||3rd in NFC Central||-||-||-||-|
Post-coaching career[edit | edit source]
After coaching football, Grant became a less prominent public figure and focused his time on hunting and fishing and supporting environmental reforms. He has been a spokesperson opposing Native American hunting and fishing treaty rights in Minnesota. In 1993, Grant's efforts resulted in a death threat. In 2005, he spoke at a Capitol rally in Minnesota for the conservation of wetlands, wetland wildlife, and water. Grant addressed the five thousand supporters saying, "In this legislative session, we want to see some action. It’s more important than any stadium they could ever build in this state."
He continues to maintain his connections with the Vikings as a consultant for the team and maintains an office at the team's headquarters in Eden Prairie.
References[edit | edit source]
- Grant's legacy still looms in Minnesota. Associated Press (2006-08-12). Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
- Beating the Clock. American Football Monthly (June 1999). Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Harry (Bud) Grant. Canadian Football Hall of Fame & Museum. Retrieved on 2010-03-05.
- Bud Grant. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- History: Bud Grant. Viking Update (2001-07-19). Retrieved on 2007-05-12.
- Kumpula, Carlo (2007-05-09). 'The Glacier' and 'The Gladiator'. Spooner Advocate (Spooner, Wisconsin). Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Bud Grant. Manlyweb.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Brackin, Dennis; Rand, Mike. Success has a price. Star Tribune. Retrieved on 2007-05-07.
- Rand, Michael. "Eagles' all-around game proves to be too much", 2007-11-23. Retrieved on 2007-11-24.
- Monter, Chris (2007-04-05). Ryan Grant Commits to Minnesota. GoldenSports.net. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Harlow, Tim (2009-03-04). Pat Grant, wife of Vikings coach, dies. Star Tribune. Retrieved on 2009-03-05.
- Marshall, Brian (1998). BUD GRANT: PURPLE AND BLUE, THROUGH AND THROUGH. Professional Football Researchers Association. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- The 1950 NFL Draft. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- 1950 NBA Draft. Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Bud Grant Statistics. Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-28.
- 1950 Minneapolis Lakers. Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Bud Grant. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Bud Grant. The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame & Museum. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- All-Time Playoff Records. CFL.ca. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- HARRY PETER BUD GRANT. CFL.ca. Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Grant Receives A Death Threat. The New York Times (1993-01-10). Retrieved on 2007-05-12.
- Anderson, Dennis (2005-01-11). Rally hats on. Minnesota Environmental Partnership. Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
- Schultz, Chris (2005-04-11). Open water has returned once again. Herald Journal. Archived from the original on March 23, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
[edit | edit source]
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- McGrane, Bill (1986). Bud: The Other Side of the Glacier. Harper & Row. Template:Citation/identifier.