A long-time member of the Minnesota Vikings organization and one of the pioneers in his field is no longer with us.
Frank Gilliam, who was a member of the Vikings’ organization for nearly four decades and was one of the first black scouts in the National Football League, passed away on Sunday at the age of 89.
After a successful college football career at the University of Iowa and a stint in the Canadian Football League, Gilliam went back to the Hawkeyes as a member of Jerry Burns’ coaching staff. Burns would, of course, go on to become the fourth coach in Vikings history in 1986.
Then, in 1970, he was hired as a scout by the Vikings under then-General Manager Jim Finks and Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reichow. Reichow had some fond memories of Gilliam following the news of his passing:
“Frank was a great guy and a really good scout. He had grown up in football and really studied it. I don’t think we ever had an argument in all those years working together because I think we complemented each other with how we did things. From the start, we hit it off really well. We never did get over the hump, but we got the Vikings real close. I’ll miss him.”
Last year, the Vikings launched the Gilliam-Reichow Personnel Fellowship, teaching participants about the numerous facets that go into evaluating players and creating an NFL roster.
We want to send our condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Frank Gilliam on his passing.