Bud Grant is a former head coach of American football and Canadian football, who coached the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League for 18 seasons during which he led them to four Super Bowls, 11 division titles, one league championship and three NFC conference championships. He was previously the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League for 10 seasons, during which his team won four 'Grey Cups'. He is the most successful coach in Vikings history and the third most successful professional football coach overall. He is the first person to be elected to both the 'Pro Football Hall of Fame' and the 'Canadian Football League Hall of Fame'. As a player, he played football, basketball, and baseball for the University of Minnesota before playing basketball for the Minneapolis Lakers and football for the Philadelphia Eagles of NFL and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of CFL.
Childhood & Early Life
Harry Peter Grant Jr. was born on May 20, 1927, in Superior, Wisconsin, to Harry Peter Sr. and Bernice Grant. He was called 'Buddy Boy' by his mother, which was later shortened to 'Bud'.
After being diagnosed with polio at 8, he was advised to take part in sports to strengthen his leg muscles, following which he began playing baseball, basketball and football. He played all three sports at Superior Central High School in Wisconsin, and due to lack of organized sports, took initiative to arrange football games and later participated in organized baseball.
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Bud Grant enlisted in the Navy in 1945 and was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois, where he played football under legendary coach Paul Brown. As the Second World War ended, he got discharged from service and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where he was a three-sport, nine-letterman athlete in football, basketball, and baseball for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
He was selected in the first round of the 1950 NFL Draft by Philadelphia Eagles and the fourth round of the 1950 NBA Draft by Minneapolis Lakers. After playing 35 games with the Lakers during the 1949–50 NBA season, he signed with them for the next season and was a member of their 1950 championship team.
He ended his professional basketball career after two seasons and agreed to play for the NFL team Philadelphia Eagles during the 1951 season. Playing as a defensive end in the first season, he led his team in sacks, and the following season, became an offensive wide receiver ranking second in the NFL for receiving yardage with seven touchdowns.
After he failed to reach an agreement with the Eagles following the 1952 NFL season, he signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada of the CFL in 1953. He played for the team as an offensive end until 1956 and was named a Western Conference all-star three times, and also registered five interceptions in a playoff game.
Bud Grant was appointed the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the 1957 season. He became the youngest head coach in CFL history when he took charge on January 30, 1957.
He coached the team for 10 seasons until 1966, during which the team made six 'Grey Cup' appearances and won the championship four times in 1958, 1959, 1961, and 1962. Grant, who also took additional responsibilities as a club manager between 1964 and 1966, was named the 'CFL Coach of the Year' in 1965.
He took charge of the NFL team Minnesota Vikings in 1967. He quickly became known for instilling discipline and showing little emotion during games.
During his second season with the Vikings, he led the team to the 1968 divisional championship, which was also his first NFL playoffs appearance. The following year, he helped the team win its first NFL Championship and secure its first appearance in the Super Bowl, which they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Throughout the 1970s, he led the Vikings to three more Super Bowls, becoming the first NFL coach to achieve the feat, even though they lost every time. He initially retired after the 1983 NFL season, but was re-hired as head coach following a dismal 1984 season and successfully returned the club to a 7–9 record before retiring again.
Family & Personal Life
Bud Grant married Patricia Bellew in 1950 and welcomed six children with her, including Mike Grant, who has been the football head coach for Eden Prairie High School since 1992. His wife died of Parkinson's disease in 2009.