ON DECK: Stan May would have loved to be there“Stan was a good friend and he did a great job,” Grant said. “He was also loyal, almost to a point too loyal. He was slanted toward Superior. Stan was also a historian. He had the history of all the sports for many, many years in Superior."
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
What an event.
Wednesday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “Hometown Hall of Famer” plaque program, which honored Bud Grant at Superior High School, was a tremendous day for the city of Superior.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Allstate Insurance and SHS put on an event that those in attendance will remember for many years.
A number of old friends and former teammates of Grant’s at Superior Central High School in the mid-1940s were on hand as the former Minnesota Viking coach was honored and presented SHS with a plaque that will be permanently displayed at the school.
One person who would have loved to be in attendance Wednesday was former Superior Evening Telegram sports editor Stan May.
Thanks to his admiration of Grant, May kept a file on Grant’s career until he passed away in 1993. Most of the newspaper clippings showcased Wednesday came from the file May compiled.
“Stan was a good friend and he did a great job,” Grant said. “He was also loyal, almost to a point too loyal. He was slanted toward Superior. Stan was also a historian. He had the history of all the sports for many, many years in Superior.
“His footprints are still there (at the Telegram). I miss Stan.”
May rarely missed a home Viking game and actually had two press passes, one for him and one for his driver.
Because of illness, May eventually had both legs removed from below the knees, and through the years he had a number of different people drive him to Minneapolis on game day.
One of those drivers was Jim Tracy, who was in attendance Wednesday.
Tracy told of one experience when May went looking for Grant for a post-game interview in the locker room.
This is where things get a little fuzzy.
I remember Tracy told me this story a couple of years back, Stan was late for the press conference so he went looking for Grant in the shower. Bud heard him coming, snuck around behind May, rolled up his damp towel and snapped him in the rear end.
The story changed a bit Wednesday as Tracy now says Stan interrupted Bud’s press conference and starting asking about a pending duck hunting bill in Wisconsin. That’s when Bud used his towel to snap Stan’s notebook out of his hands.
Bud’s memory was more akin of the second version, saying, “I had to move him over. I had somebody else to talk to.”
Kudos also go out to the Spartan Singers, who did a great job singing the National Anthem, and master of ceremony Tom Hansen, who got the event off on the right foot.
People that know me are well aware my allegiances with professional football are on this side of the border.
But on Wednesday I was a fan of former Vikings head coach Bud Grant.
Bob Downs was among the Superior Central High School alumni in attendance Wednesday. As a childhood friend and classmate of Grant, Downs offered the introduction for the Hall of Famer.
“Growing up and playing sandlot ball with Grant over the years, I always knew he was good, but I didn’t know he was this good,” Downs said.
He also drew a laugh from the students when he described Thursday nights on Tower Avenue “back in the good old days.”
“That was the night that we all got dressed up and went downtown and, as we used to say, chased the skirts,” Downs said. “It didn’t take us long to realize that the skirts were chasing Bud.”
Downs said he formed many lasting friendships during his high school years, and he includes Grant among his lifelong friends.
Quotes of the day
“I’m proud to be an American, I’m proud to be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and I’m always proud to say I’m from Superior, Wis.”
— Bud Grant
“I got to meet Bud Grant and I’m eating a cookie — best day ever.”
— UWS women’s
“I even got a haircut yesterday so he wouldn’t get on me about my hair. He’s quite a guy.”
— Doug Sutherland
“Bud Grant is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, all-around athlete ever,” Christianson said. “How many players can say they won an NFL championship, won two NBA championships, won four Grey Cups up in Canada (in the Canadian Football League), played in four Pro Bowls and coached for 20 years? How many athletes can say that? None. They should make movies about him.”
— Curt Christianson, 1944 Central graduate
Ken Olson is Sports Editor of The Superior Telegram. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-395-5023.