A Life Well Lived: Family and friends to remember Bud Grant at memorial service Saturday

A public memorial is tentatively being planned for May at U.S. Bank Stadium
Bud Grant
Hall of Fame Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant salutes the crowd during a ceremony in the game between the Vikings and the New York Jets at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Photo credit Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

A life well lived is a phrase that was made for Bud Grant. Saturday, family and friends will gather to celebrate that life, which came to a close last weekend for the legendary Minnesotan.

Originally born in Superior, Wisconsin in May of 1927, the 95-year old former Viking coach ended up at the University of Minnesota after a stint in the Navy during WWII. It was while at the U of M he was befriended by a young newspaper man named Sid Hartman.

The two would be lifelong friends up until Hartman’s passing in 2020. At the time of Harman's death, Grant described him as "my best friend".

Grant’s career in sports was varied. He was a three-sport letterman with the Gophers, playing baseball, basketball and football. He would play professional basketball with the Minneapolis Lakers after being drafted into both the NBA and NFL. After two seasons, he left basketball for the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

But Grant would leave the Eagles for Canada and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL when he thought the Eagles wouldn’t pay him what he was worth. It was there that Grant got into coaching prior to the 1957 season.

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.

Bud Grant
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp (11) talks to head coach Bud Grant on the sideline against the Kansas City Chiefs during Super Bowl IV at Tulane Stadium. The Chiefs defeated the Vikings 23-7. Photo credit Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports

He stayed in Winnipeg through the 1966 season when Max Winter, the original founder of the Vikings, contacted Grant and asked him to take over for original coach Norm Van Brocklin.

A disciplinarian that rarely showed emotion on the sidelines, Grant’s poise and leadership made him one of the great coaches in NFL history. Grant’s teams went to four Super Bowls (although famously losing all four), and 11 division titles making him by far the most successful coach for the Purple.

Grant retired after the 1983 season, but after a disastrous 1984 campaign under Les Steckel, Grant came back to lead the Vikings in 1985 before once again stepping away from the game.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. His Hall of Fame introduction in 1994 was done by none other than his close, personal friend, Sid Hartman. Grant was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and there's a statue of him outside the Bomber's stadium in Winnipeg.

Bud Grant Statue
Winnipeg Blue Bombers alumni Bud Grant who's statue stands outside IG Field. Photo credit Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Grant always stayed involved with the Vikings, even having his own office first at Winter Park, then at the new TCO Performance Center in Eagan. But Bud Grant’s retirement was mainly focused on the outdoors.

Always a passionate hunter and fisherman, Grant loved the outdoors. He was involved in conservation of wetlands, wildlife and water across the state and supported many environmental reforms.

Grant was married to his wife Pat in 1950 and had six children (Kathy, Laurie, Peter, Mike, Bruce, and Danny). Pat died in 2009.

The family of Bud Grant will host a memorial service for family and friends this Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m. at Grace Church (9301 Eden Prairie Road) in Eden Prairie. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m.

(NOTE: The service is not open to the public)

The team and the Grant family are currently finalizing details for a public celebration of Bud’s life to take place at U.S. Bank Stadium at a date to be determined this May.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to either of the following groups:

Minnesota Vikings Foundation
2600 Vikings Circle
Eagan, MN 55121
Donation Form Here

DAV Foundation
c/o Camp Ripley Outdoor Program MN Veterans Outdoor
s576 Concord Drive
Chaska, MN 55318

Featured Image Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports