Hall of Fame NFL coach dead at age 95

The Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant passed away on Saturday morning. Grant was 95 years old. He was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 1967 to 1983 and then again in 1985, making four appearances in the Super Bowl and accumulating a 158-96-5 record. As well as this, Grant won 11 NFC Central titles in an 11-year span from 1968-1978.

Before Grant began his professional coaching career, he was a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota. He was an All-Big Ten honor twice and he lettered in baseball, basketball, and football three times apiece. He was drafted in both the NBA and NFL and played for the Minneapolis Lakers for two years, winning the 1950 NBA championship.

In 1951, Grant joined the Philadelphia Eagles and played defensive end, before switch to wide receiver the following year and catching 56 passes for 997 yards and seven touchdowns.

However, a contract dispute took Grant to the Canadian Football League (CFL) where he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Under his tutelage, Winnipeg won four Grey Cups and Grant was a Western Conference All-Star three times in four seasons.

Grant’s CFL success led to an NFL position where he took over a team that had not made the playoffs in its seven years of existence. He quickly turned the team into a powerhouse and they made the playoffs just two years later and then went all the way to the Super Bowl the season following that.

His teams were known for their impressive defense, particularly the ‘Purple People Eaters’ (Gary Larsen, Alan Page, Carl Eller, and Jim Marshall). Durng the time of 1969-1976, the Minnesota Vikings were first, second, or third in fewest points allowed all but one year.

Unfortunately, the Lombardi Trophy eluded them as they lost all four Super Bowl appearances. However, Grant had still turned a moribund franchise into a successful team within just three years. Grant continued to work as a consultant for the Vikings even after his retirement and kept an office at the team facility. He was still active with the team as recently as the 2022 season, when the team went 13-4 and win an NFC North title under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Grant and his wife, Pat, had six children.