from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota at www.startribune.com or CLICK HERE…..Coming in from the Star Tribune staff…
U.S. Bank Stadium posted memorial messages for former Vikings coach Bud Grant, who died Saturday at the age of 95.
In the 24 hours since Minnesota learned of Bud Grant’s death Saturday morning, reactions came in from all corners of the state and beyond. By Saturday evening, the middle of downtown was glowing purple, with some skyscrapers and buildings shining purple lights into the dark, snowy sky. In front of U.S. Bank Stadium, the giant screen read “In memory of Bud Grant” for passersby.
In downtown St. Paul, at the most Minnesota of events, the boys hockey state tournament, there was much talk of the most Minnesota of men.
“I used to see him once a year because we’d have a birthday lunch with Sid (Hartman). He was a special person,” said hockey luminary Lou Nanne, wearing a purple tie by chance at the tourney at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday. “I loved his principles and the way he handled himself. Discipline was so important on his teams, and making sure the players were committed to staying together and winning games.”
From our twin downtowns and beyond, here are other reactions:
“We lost a legend in Bud Grant. He was a mentor to me from a distance when I was in college and then personally when I got to the Vikings in 1992. He gave a lot of wisdom on coaching & developing men and his ability to keep football and life in perspective made a big impact on me.” — Pro football Hall of Famer, and former Gophers player and Vikings coach, Tony Dungy on Twitter (@TonyDungy).
“Bud Grant is a legend, an absolute legend. And he’s a treasure of our state. It’s a sad day. It’s a real sad day for our state and the Minnesota Vikings to lose him.” — Gophers men’s hockey coach Bob Motzko, who grew up in Austin, Minn., as a big Vikings fan and has followed the team closely throughout his life. Grant was a Gopher long ago, and Motzko coached his Gophers men’s hockey team to a 5-1 win Saturday night.
“Ninety-five and still sharp and vibrant and still telling his stories,” Chuck Foreman told the Star Tribune’s Mark Craig on Saturday. “A long, good life that was filled with quality right to the end.”
“Bud Grant! What else can you say? The ultimate HC & a man that gave me an opportunity to Flip the Field for @Vikings for 10 years. Awe had a special bond of mutual respect & admiration. Will never forget our private moments. @proFootballHOF. Rest Well Old Trapper!” — Former Vikings punter Greg Coleman on Twitter (@gregcoleman8).
“We send our thoughts to him and his family. I know he’s done a lot of good. Pretty memorable character in Minnesota.” — Twins manager Rocco Baldelli on Saturday at Hammond Stadium, where they held a moment of silence before the game, producing a large gasp from the crowd as Grant’s death had been announced less than an hour earlier.
“The one memory I have of Bud is the Vikings playoff football game we had outdoors where he’s about 100 years old and he showed up in a T-shirt,” Edina boys hockey coach Curt Giles said before his Hornets played in the Class 2A title game. “There’s a guy in the state of Minnesota who will be a legend forever.”
Also in St. Paul: at their home opener, Minnesota United put a tribute to Grant on their scoreboard before the game. The snowy field and cold weather fit right in. Much farther east and south, the Pro Football Hall of Fame lowered its flag to half-staff in Grant’s honor.
“Bud Grant was a giant. He made a generational impact on Minnesota sports. Rest in peace, coach.” — Gov. Tim Walz on Twitter (@GovTimWalz).
More from Mark Craig, with the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
‘Like losing a best friend.’ Former Vikings players remember Bud Grant’s stoic, generous style
Grant took the Vikings to four Super Bowls and developed friendships with his players that endured long after their careers on the field were over.
By Mark Craig Star Tribune
A somber feeling of near disbelief hung over Vikings Nation on Saturday as the players from the franchise’s storied heydays came to grips with the passing of Bud Grant, the 95-year-old Hall of Fame coach and iconic face of football forever in Minnesota.
“My son heard it on the radio and I couldn’t believe it because you don’t expect someone like Bud to ever die,” said cornerback Bobby Bryant, one of 11 players on all four of Grant’s Super Bowl teams. “This is like a family member passing away. The Lord granted him a lot of days, but it’s still sad because Bud was almost bigger than life.”
Hall of Fame safety Paul Krause, the NFL’s career leader in interceptions and usually a man of many words, paused and said: “I’m at a loss for words because it’s like losing your best friend. Not a coach. A best friend. He treated all of us like we wanted to be treated. He led a great life and touched a lot of us who are still thanking him to this day for what he did for us.”
Grant took over the Vikings in 1967 at age 39 after 10 seasons coaching in the Canadian Football League. In six seasons in the NFL, they had never reached the playoffs. Grant led them there in 1968; the next season, he led them to the Super Bowl.
He coached the Vikings for 18 seasons, compiling a 168-108-5 overall record and reaching the Super Bowl again in 1973, ’74 and ’76. After he retired — for the second time — in 1985, he remained a regular presence around the team for the next four decades.
“His commitment to the Vikings never wavered as he was a mainstay in our facility, spending time with coaches and staff in his office on a regular basis,” Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in a statement. “We cherished the times we had together, listening to his tremendous stories and soaking up his knowledge of the game.”
Running back Chuck Foreman saw Grant only a week or so ago.
“Ninety-five and still sharp and vibrant and still telling his stories,” said Foreman, who played for Grant from 1973 to 1979. “A long, good life that was filled with quality right to the end.”
Dave Osborn, a Vikings running back from 1965 to ’75, called Grant the “greatest coach a guy could play for” and remembered fondly how different Grant was from his predecessor, Norm Van Brocklin. While Van Brocklin was volatile and often demeaning to players, Grant was a stoic man of few words — a man who could use those steely blue eyes of authority more effectively than Van Brocklin’s screaming and name calling.
Osborn recalled a hunting trip in the late 1960s. Grant took center Mick Tingelhoff and another player to Nebraska. Tingelhoff, who like Grant would later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the other player decided to play a game as they climbed into Bud’s truck. They would not speak a word until Bud spoke first.
“They leave Minneapolis and almost made it all the way through Iowa without anyone saying a word,” Osborn said. “Bud’s driving. They have to stop for gas. Bud’s first words were, ‘Tank was full when I left.’ That was Bud. That’s all he needed to say to make them understand the situation perfectly. They were paying for the gas.”