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Minnesota Gophers: Former Gopher Legend Bud Grant Dies at 95

Grant was a three-sport star for Minnesota from 1946-1949

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

It was announced Saturday morning that former Minnesota Gophers three-sports legend Bud Grant passed away at the age of 95. Grant won nine letters playing football, basketball and baseball for the Gophers between 1946 and 1949 before going onto play with the Minneapolis Lakers, and then onto a Hall of Fame coaching career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL, and of course the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL.

Grant was born and raised in Superior, Wis., and came to the U of M in 1946 after serving in the Navy at the Great Lakes Naval Station outside Chicago. Grant was a two-time All-Big Ten end for the football team under coach Bernie Bierman; he starred as a forward and was the team MVP on the basketball team; and also played centerfield and pitched for the baseball team where he would lead the team in hitting his first season. Grant would end up beating out Bronko Nagurski and Bruce Smith to be named as the “Top Athlete at the U of M for the First 50 Years of the Century.

After he graduated Grant moved onto the Minneapolis Lakers where he played two seasons averaging just 2.6 points per game, but winning two NBA Championships. He also would form a relationship with the team’ general manager at the time—Sid Hartman.

Grant decided to try football and left the Lakers and joined the Philadelphia Eagles where in 1951 as a linebacker he led the team in sacks, and in 1952 as a wide receiver Grant finished second in the NFL in recieveing yards and was named to the Pro Bowl.

After a contract dispute Grant headed north of the border where he would play four seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before at age 29 he was offered the head coaching position. He would proceeded to lead the Blue Bombers to six Grey Cups over the next 10 years, winning four of them. In 1967 Grant would take over as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and become the face of the franchise. Grant would lead the Vikings to 168 wins in 28 season from 1967-83 and 1985. In Minnesota, his teams made the playoffs 12 times, and won 15 championships: 11 Central Division, one NFL and three NFC. He took the Vikings to their only four Super Bowls in franchise history.

In 1991 Grant was named to the M Club Hall of Fame. Three years later he would be elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. He was a true Minnesota icon and his memory will live forever.

A few months ago Grant was in studio for his last hour of radio with Dan Barrero on KFAN. It’s worth the listen if you can. It’s a fascinating look into the mind of one of the best who ever lived.

Our thoughts go out to the Grant family. RIP to a true Gopher legend.