Every fan of the Minnesota Vikings knows that Bud Grant is a legend in the coaching community based on what he did for the purple alone. However, he was a coaching legend north of the border before he ever set foot into Metropolitan Stadium as the Vikings’ head coach, and his former team recognized him for that on Friday night.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League inducted Coach Grant into their Ring of Honour at halftime of their game on Friday night against the Edmonton Eskimos. The Blue Bombers just started their Ring of Honour this year, and Coach Grant is among the first inductees.
Coach Grant got his start with the Blue Bombers as a player back in 1953, heading north after a couple of seasons as a receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. He led the CFL’s Western Conference in receptions in 1953, 1954, and 1956, and led the conference in receiving yards in 1953 and 1956. He also played defensive back for the Blue Bombers, and still holds the CFL record for most interceptions in a playoff game, collecting five picks for the Blue Bombers in a 1953 contest. Following the 1956 season, Blue Bombers management approached him about becoming the team’s coach. . .while he was still playing for the team, mind you. . .and he accepted, ending his playing days to take the head coaching job.
Grant coached the Blue Bombers for 10 seasons, from 1957 to 1966. During those ten seasons, he took the Blue Bombers to the Grey Cup (the CFL’s “Super Bowl”) six times. The Blue Bombers won four Grey Cups in those six appearances, winning in 1958 and 1959, and then again in 1961 and 1962. He finished his coaching career with the Blue Bombers with an overall record of 122 wins, 66 losses, and three ties.
He had an opportunity to come to Minnesota earlier than he did, as Max Winter and the Vikings’ ownership group approached Grant to be the team’s head coach when Minnesota was awarded an NFL expansion team in 1961. However, he chose to stay with the Blue Bombers, and he remained there until the 1966 season. After that, Winter and company took another shot at getting Grant to come coach the Vikings, and he accepted the offer. He coached the Vikings from 1967 to 1983, and then again for a final season in 1985.
Congratulations to Bud Grant on yet another accolade in his outstanding football career.