Grant, Pro Football Hall of Fame coming to Superior High School‘Hometown Hall of Fame’ plaque program will take place May 1
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
There have been only 273 members inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the more than 21,000 athletes who have played for the National Football League.
Remarkably, three of those members happen to be from Superior: Bud Grant, Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans and Ernie Nevers.
Thanks to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Hometown Hall of Famer” plaque program, Grant will present his “Hometown Plaque” to Superior High School on May 1.
The event, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the SHS gym, is free and open to the public.
The plaque will be permanently displayed at the school, which becomes an official extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Harry “Bud” Grant, who was born May 20, 1927 in Superior to Harry Sr. and Bernice Grant, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1994.
Grant’s NFL coaching tenure began in 1967 with the Minnesota Vikings. He coach through the 1983 season and then again with the Vikings in 1985.
He led the Vikings to 11 divisional championships: 1968 through 1971, 1973 through 1978 and 1981. He also won the NFL championship in 1969 and NFC titles in 1973, 1974 and 1976. Under Grant, the Vikings played in four Super Bowls.
Prior to coaching in the NFL Grant was a three-sport standout athlete at Superior Central High School, under the tutelage of coach Harry Conley.
Grant was a standout end on the CHS football team in his sophomore and junior seasons before switching to fullback his senior year when he sparked the Vikings to a 7-1 season.
With Grant as a standout forward on the basketball team, Central dominated the Head of the Lakes Conference for three years.
Grant, who graduated in 1945, received all-state recognition in both football and basketball at Central High School.
Grant was also a noted baseball pitcher and starred with the Superior Junior American Legion team and various amateur teams in northern Wisconsin.
After high school, Grant was a star end with the Great Lakes Naval Training football team. After his Naval service, Grant went to the University of Minnesota, where he was a nine-letter athlete with the Gophers (four in football, two in baseball and three in basketball). He was also a two-time All-Big Ten end in football, a two-year baseball star and a three-year basketball regular.
Although a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1950, Grant postponed his NFL debut to play with the Minneapolis Lakers in the NBA. He played two years with the Lakers, who won the NBA title each year.
In 1951, Grant turned to pro football with the Eagles, who drafted him with the 12th pick in the 1950 draft. After leading the team in sacks on defense as a rookie he then became the No. 2 pass receiver in the NFL with 57 catches for 997 yards in 1952.
When the Eagles failed to offer him a contract for what he felt he was worth in 1953, Grant became the first pro football player to play out his option, and he left for the Canadian Football League.
In Canada, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Grant played both ways, as a receiver on offense and a halfback on defense. He set several team and league records, including five interceptions in one CFL playoff game. He finished with 216 catches for 3,200 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Grant was an all-star three times before he began his coaching career with Winnipeg in 1956. Grant would win four Grey Cups over the Hamilton Ti ger Cats, and his record was 105-53-2 over 10 years at the helm of Winnipeg.
Grant replaced Norm Van Brocklin as head coach of the Vikings in 1967. In 18 years with Minnesota, his teams compiled a .620 winning percentage (158-96-5) in regular-season play. His 168 coaching triumphs, counting 10 post-season wins, place him among the all-time greatest coaches. His overall coaching record in the NFL is 168-108-5.
At the time of his retirement, only George Halas, Don Shula, Tom Landry, Curly Lambeau, Chuck Noll, Chuck Knox and Paul Brown had engineered more wins in pro football play.
There have been more than 50 plaque presentations made around the county since the fall of 2011 and Grant’s ceremony will be one of 30 this spring.
Highlights of other ceremonies may be found online at www.profootballhof.com/hometown-hall-of-famers-program.
The HOF event will be in conjunction with the high school’s “Spring Fling” pep assembly.
Following the event in the gym, the HOF event will move to the SHS Performing Arts Center, where Grant will present a trophy and photo to the Old Firehouse and Police Museum. Grant’s father was a Superior fireman and was a member of a city championship team in the 1902.
Looking for help
SHS Activities Director Ray Kosey is looking for help from the community to make the Hall of Fame event a success. Needed are any items that include Grant for a display at the ceremony. Items could include film/photos or newspaper clippings of Grant playing any sport as a youth in Superior.
Also in the HOF
Superior is also honored to have two other Superiorites in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Alphonse “Tuffy” Leemans and Ernie Nevers. Nevers was born in Willow River, Minn., but graduated from Superior Central High School.
Plans on honoring Leemans and Nevers will be announced in the future by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.