Legendary Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant dies at 95

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Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, an NFL Hall of Famer who led the team to four Super Bowls, died Saturday at the age of 95. File Photo by All-Pro Reels/Wikimedia Commons

March 11 (UPI) — Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant, an NFL Hall of Famer who brought the team to four Super Bowls, died Saturday, the Vikings announced. He was 95.

“We are absolutely devastated to announce legendary Minnesota Vikings head coach and Hall of Famer Bud Grant has passed away this morning at age 95,” the team tweeted. “We, like all Vikings and NFL fans, are shocked and saddened by this terrible news.”

As a young athlete, Grant played for the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers and the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. He then went on to play four seasons with the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Following his retirement as a player, Grant became the Blue Bombers’ coach and led the the team to six Grey Cup appearances and four titles.

In 1967, he was hired as head coach by the Vikings, where he was known for his stoicism and imposing a strict disciplinary regimen on his players.

Grant, a native of Superior, Wis., would require his players to practice in cold weather without heaters on the sidelines so that they would be used to playing in low temperatures.

During his 18 years as head coach, Grant’s Vikings earned 12 playoff berths and won 11 division titles. He guided the Vikings to Super Bowl appearances in 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1976 — all of them losses.

Grant retired following the 1983 season, returned in 1985 but then left the sidelines for good, handing the team off to his longtime defensive coordinator, Jerry Burns.

Grant was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994 and was the first inductee to also be inducted into the Canadian Football League’s Hall of Fame. He remains the only person to have played in the NFL, CFL and National Basketball Association.

He is survived by his partner Pat Smith, and six children from his wife Pat Grant, who died in 2009.

Robert Blake

Actor Robert Blake departs Los Angeles Superior Court in the Van Nuys section of Los Angeles in this December 2004 file photo. The “Baretta” actor died at age 89 on March 9. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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