Star Tribune – Bud Grant, the most iconic sports figure in Minnesota history, died Saturday.
He was 95.
Grant was a standout athlete for the Gophers, played professional basketball for the Minneapolis Lakers and starred in the NFL, but made his mark in the state as coach of the Minnesota Vikings, leading them to four Super Bowls in his 18 seasons and earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
More than that, the avid outdoorsman was known for his statue-like appearance on the sideline as his teams played in the winter elements.
There was a weekly study in stoicism that fans of the Vikings saw, month after month, year after year, from Grant.
“A once-in-a-lifetime man, Bud will forever be synonymous with success, toughness, the North and the Vikings.” – Minnesota Vikings owners owners Zygi and Mark Wilf
The no-heaters-on-the-sidelines, no-gloves-allowed, weather-be-damned toughness he displayed — and demanded from his players. The chiseled, taut, expressionless face with the clear blue eyes that we saw on the sidelines.
Somewhere along the line, Harry Peter Grant Jr., born and raised in Superior, Wis., came to embody how a lot of Minnesotans liked to think of themselves: hard-working and successful; steady and reliable; unflappable and independent.
“He never embarrassed a player, never criticized or chewed a player out in front of anybody else,” former Vikings running back Dave Osborn said. “If he had something he didn’t like about you, he’d take you aside and talk to you.
“Bud just had a knack for leading, handling people. He was a great football coach, but Bud could have coached a sport he didn’t know anything about because he just knew how to handle people.”
Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, in a statement issued by the team, said, “Bud was gracious with his time, meeting in his office weekly to discuss football and life. I will forever cherish those conversations because they made me a better coach, a better husband and father and a better person.” …