The NFL has lost one of the great coaches in the sport.
Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant passed away on Saturday at the age of 95. Grant took the Vikings to four Super Bowls over his 18 seasons in charge of the team. He also won four Grey Cups with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League prior to his NFL coaching career, and he’s a member of both the Canadian Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame. Grant was also an NBA champion when he played for the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spent five seasons with the Vikings from 1985 to 1989 as the defensive backs coach. Grant’s final season as Vikings coach was Carroll’s first season in Minnesota, and Pete has long held Grant in high regard as a mentor and one of his greatest influences.
When the Seahawks defeated the New York Giants this past season, tying Carroll with Grant for 18th most wins in NFL history, Pete had a phone conversation with Bud before arriving to the post-game press conferences.
“I did get him on the phone and talk to him here just to kick it around, because I had to try to make it real,” Carroll said (via Seahawks.com). “I can’t tell you how much I love the guy and how much I’ve respected him throughout my career and the opportunity that he gave me to get me back in the league—I’d been in the league one year, got fired, got thrown out of it, and he gave me a chance to come back. I don’t know why he saw it, but he did. And from that point forward, the relationship that we’ve had has just been meaningful to me in everything that I’ve done. It doesn’t even make sense to me. I said, ‘Could this possibly be?’ He said, ‘Yeah, it is, it is.’ Neither one of us thinks it’s that big a deal, but to me it is just because it’s Bud.”
Carroll released a short statement honoring Grant and sending condolences to his family.
Sending so much love to the Grant family. I honestly felt if anybody could live forever it would have been Bud.— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) March 11, 2023
I will forever hold him as an everlasting incomparable spirit. pic.twitter.com/lwjgeQx8Vs
“Sending so much love to the Grant family,” Carroll wrote. “I honestly felt if anybody could live forever it would have been Bud. I will forever hold him as an everlasting incomparable spirit.”
Carroll isn’t the only Seahawks head coach who worked under Bud Grant. Jack Patera, the first head coach in franchise history, was Minnesota’s defensive line coach under Grant from 1969 to 1975.
Rest in peace, Coach Bud.