Hall of Fame Bombers and Vikings coach, Bud Grant passes away at 95

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Jim Mone

Legendary CFL and NFL coach Bud Grant has passed at the age of 95.

The native of Superior, Wis. had an incredible 28-year coaching career on both sides of the border, spending 10 seasons as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and another 18 with the Minnesota Vikings. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, making him one of just three individuals enshrined in both institutions.

Grant began his athletic career at the University of Minnesota. Despite being a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, he first spent two seasons with the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers, winning an NBA championship in 1950. He returned to football in 1951 with the Eagles before heading north to Winnipeg in 1953, spending four seasons as the team’s star offensive end and earning West Division all-star honours three times.

The then-29-year-old Grant was hired as the Bombers’ head coach ahead of the 1957 season. In 10 years at the helm, he would steer the team to four Grey Cup victories and six appearances, twice winning back-to-back titles. He was CFL Coach of the Year in 1965, finishing his career in Canada with a 102-56-2 record.

Grant was hired by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings in 1967. In 18 seasons with the team, he would lead them to 11 division titles and four Super Bowl appearances. Though he never captured the title, the Vikings posted a 158-96-5 record during his tenure. His coaching tree includes seven former NFL head coaches, including Super Bowl champion Pete Carroll and three-time Grey Cup winner Marc Trestman.

Until his death, Grant continued to be listed as a consultant with the Vikings and maintained an office at team headquarters. He was a passionate advocate for the CFL and is honoured by a statue outside IG Field in Winnipeg.