Onward to Valhalla

The great Bud Grant has died at the age of 95:

Hall of Fame head coach Bud Grant, who led the Vikings to four Super Bowl, has died. He was 95.

Born May 20, 1927 in Superior Wisconsin, Harry Peter Grant Jr. played in the NBA, the NFL, and the CFL. He was the oldest living NBA champion, a member of the 1950 Minneapolis Lakers.

Grant later played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He coached the Blue Bombers from 1957 to 1966, taking the job at the age of 29. He won four Grey Cups with the Blue Bombers.

In 1967, Grant succeeded Norm Van Brocklin as head coach of the Vikings. Grant took the Vikings to Super Bowl IV, Super Bowl VIII, Super Bowl IX, and Super Bowl XI. He coached the team until 1983, retiring for a year and then returning after a disastrous 3-13 season under Les Steckel.

Grant, known for an always-stoic sideline demeanor, had a record of 168-108-5 in his NFL coaching career. He went 118-64-3 in the CFL. In all, he coached 466 games, winning 286 times.

For better or for worse, I owe my stoicism to Bud Grant. When asked once about my emotional imperturbability in the face of open hatred, I answered that as a lifelong Vikings fan, I no longer had any capacity for disappointment or tears in the face of defeat. I always admired how he could meet success or failure with stone cold equanimity, and how he refused to bow even before the bitter cold of the Minnesota winters.

One by one, our heroes are leaving us. May we be worthy of them.