The Superior, Wis., community was excited and proud to welcome home Pro Football Hall of Famer Bud Grant on Wednesday, May 1 for a “Hometown Hall of Fame™” ceremony presented by Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Superior High School gymnasium was packed with the school’s students and staff, Grant’s family and friends and members of the Superior community.
After the singing of the National Anthem and a viewing a highlight video of Grant’s legendary coaching career, event emcee Tom Hansen kicked off the ceremony recounting several of his memories of Grant from his coaching days. “Bud Grant is not just a Hall of Famer, but a Hall of Fame person,” Hansen said.
Allstate agent Chris Gardner took the stage next, sharing stories of how his own father was from Superior and idolized Bud Grant, noting how jealous he would be that his son was speaking at Grant’s ceremony. “On behalf of Allstate and all our agents in the area, I am privileged to help honor the great Bud Grant where it all began here in Superior,” Gardner said.
Grant’s friend and former teammate, Bob Downs, presented Grant with his special plaque and shared stories of growing up in Superior together. He spoke of how they spent most of their time in high school “chasing skirts,” but took note of Grant’s football abilities. “I always knew Bud was good, but I didn’t know he’d be this good,” Downs said.
After unveiling his plaque, Grant took the time on stage to change out of his Pro Football Hall of Fame gold jacket and put on his 1941 Superior Central High School letter sweater, a switch that was appreciated by the Superior community. Grant discussed his time at Superior Central High School and all the people who made an impact on his life. He told the audience how special his high school days were to him, mentioning that out of his thousands of sports games he has been a part of, he can still remember every game he played in high school. “This is the most valuable time in your life. Make the most of it,” Grant said. “Make good decisions and follow the right people.”
Following the conclusion of the ceremony, Grant presented his father’s 1902 Superior City Firemen League baseball championship trophy and a photo of the team to several firemen and the Firemen and Police Museum – a special hometown moment for the community.
Additional speakers at the ceremony included Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises President and CEO George Veras. “We are here today to celebrate Superior High School and the Superior community,” Veras said. “Not only is Superior High School the only school to house three Hall of Famers, but it is now an official extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Also in attendance was former NFL defensive tackle and one of Grant’s former players Doug Sutherland.
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative Bud Grant “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Superior.
A nine-letterman athlete from the University of Minnesota, Grant was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1950 NBA Draft. After two successful seasons in the NBA, Grant went on to play professional football with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and then the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Following his retirement from playing, Grant accepted the position as head coach of the Blue Bombers where he led the team to six Grey Cup appearances over the course of 10 years. He stepped in as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 1967, a role he would keep for 18 years.
Grant led the Vikings to a string of championship seasons, including 4 Super Bowl appearances, 11 divisional championships, a 1969 NFL championship and three NFC titles. Grant compiled a .620 winning percentage with the Minnesota Vikings as well as a total of 168 coaching triumphs, including 10 postseason victories.
Grant was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
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