Dan Brooks, Herb’s son, attended St. Thomas Academy along with Pat Tingelhoff, the son of Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff.
“I think Mick shared a lot about Bud Grant with my dad,” Dan said. “My dad knew Bud very well just through various connections, but I would say that Bud Grant was probably my dad’s favorite non-hockey coach.”
Added Dan: “He really, really admired Bud Grant for what he stood for.”
Brooks appreciated and respected fellow coaches who showed a high level of character and were effective leaders of their teams.
Brooks eventually hung up his skates but didn’t leave the ice. He became a coach for the Gophers and led them to three NCAA Championship titles (1974, 1976 and 1979). From 1981 to 1985, Brooks took a job in the National Hockey League coaching the New York Rangers, during which he wrote the above letter to Grant. Other NHL gigs included the Minnesota North Stars (1987-88), New Jersey Devils (1992-93) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-2000).
The Minnesota legend coached three Olympic teams, including the 1980 team, whose story was retold by Disney’s Miracle in 2004.
In 1990, Brooks was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame and in 1999 to the International Hockey Hall of Fame.
Paul Jr. explained that the relationship between his father and Grant was a special one, marked by a shared pride in their alma mater, love for sports and emphasis on loyalty.
The name of Paul Sr. is recognized across the State of Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota, Paul Sr. was an All-American in baseball, two-time All-American in football and runner-up to the Heisman Trophy in 1953. His jersey number is one of only five in Gophers football history to be retired.
Paul Jr. credits Grant – who was from Superior, Wisconsin, just beyond the Minnesota border – and other local athletes that came before his father for Paul Sr.’s decision to play for the Gophers.
“These were the men of action that made a small-town kid from Winona, Minnesota, want to go to the University,” Paul Jr. said. “The Bud Grants, the Billy Byes, the Bruce Smiths, the Clayton Tonnemakers. You could make a list of just a ton of people who were Minnesotans, who stayed home, went to school at the university, raised their families here.”
Halsey and Bud.
Two trademarks in Minnesota that needed no context – or even a last name – when talked about.
"Everybody knew [Halsey Hall]. He was one of those rare people, like Bud, who was known by one name,” said radio personality Dave Mona, another fixture of the Minnesota sports world. “Over his years, if you said, 'Halsey,' everybody knew who you meant; you didn’t need 'Halsey Hall.' "
Hall – who is said to have coined the popular phrase, “Holy Cow!” – has a colorful history and résumé that could occupy hours. Born in New York City on May 23, 1898, Hall moved with his father to St. Paul in 1900.
Hall served in the U.S. Navy and worked in a recruiting office in Duluth, Minnesota, during World War I. Following his military service, he secured his first writing position as a sports reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune in 1919. Three years later, he transitioned to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
According to Stew Thornley, author of Holy Cow: The Life and Times of Halsey Hall, Hall worked for a variety of newspapers and “covered an even greater variety of assignments” over the next four decades. In the early years, he covered college athletics as well as the Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints baseball teams.
In the 1940s, Hall’s byline was found in both the Minneapolis Star and the Minneapolis Tribune, which later merged.
Hall’s simultaneous role as a broadcaster was set in motion on July 4, 1923, during a boxing match between St. Paul boxer Tommy Gibbons and heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey that took place in Shelby, Montana. According to Thornley, as a crowd gathered outside of the Pioneer Press building for updates, the paper arranged for Hall to provide an account of the fight.
Hall called the fight via megaphone from a second-floor window, and his play-by-play career was born.
Former Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich was known more for his affinity for bocce ball than of football, but he held Vikings Head Coach Bud Grant in high regard.
While Grant was recognized by his stoicism, Perpich garnered a reputation for an off-the-wall personality and unconventional ideas not previously seen in the Twin Cities office.
In a 1977 Washington Post article, reporter Bill Peterson wrote the following:
"He’s been called 'Crazy Rudy,' the 'Lone Ranger' and the 'disappearing governor' for his antics. But his unorthodox style and his record of dealing with a series of ticklish issues have left him in an unusually strong political position for a man unknown to many state voters when he was appointed to office last December."
Grant and Perpich were quite different from one another, but both established themselves as characters in their own right, and both became well-respected leaders in Minnesota.
Perpich, the oldest son of a Croatian immigrant who mined iron ore, grew up in the Mesabi Iron Range and was the state’s first Roman Catholic governor. Although his approach to politics was progressive, Peterson described Perpich as having a “strictly Midwestern” style. He wrote:
It is Main Street populism, a combination of small-town naiveté and openness, sprinkled with an affinity for the underdog.
[Perpich] spends days visiting county fairs and shopping centers, getting what he claims is a cross-section of public opinion. He plunges impulsively into issues some politicians wouldn't touch.
Peterson’s article referred to Perpich as “the accidental governor”; initially serving as the Lieutenant Governor, Perpich’s promotion came about after Jimmy Carter chose Walter Mondale as his running mate. When Carter was elected in 1976, Mondale vacated his Senate seat to become Vice President, Gov. Wendell Anderson appointed himself to fill Mondale’s Senate seat, and Perpich became Minnesota’s newest governor.
Once in office, however, Perpich earned the respect of the people. While he was defeated in 1978 by Albert Quie, Perpich was elected once again in 1982 and remained Governor until 1990, when he was defeated by Arne Carlson. Perpich passed away in 1995 after a battle with cancer.
Perpich earned attention for his love of bocce ball, a passion he wished to share with the state of Minnesota.
In 1977, The Daily Journal (Fergus Falls, Minnesota) reported that Perpich and Frank Betera, chairman at the time of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, were donating their salary increases “toward helping communities purchase bocce balls.” Together, the duo contributed $22,000 a year for the bocce ball fund.
Football may not have been Perpich’s first love, but he did, however, play a significant role in moving the Vikings indoors from Metropolitan Stadium.
In 1977, Gov. Perpich announced support for a covered stadium. The Minnesota Legislature passed, and Perpich signed “Laws of Minnesota 1977, chapter 89,” which created the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) and included financing provisions for sports facilities in the metropolitan area.
The connection between the late Dr. David Dehen and the Minnesota Vikings ran deep.
Dehen served as the Mayor of North Mankato from 1981-94. Each of those summers, he enjoyed the caravan of Purple and Gold that would roll into town for Vikings training camp, which was hosted at Mankato State College (now Minnesota State University, Mankato) from 1966-2017.
“That was a great boost to the city and always has been, for the 52 years they were down here,” said Mark Dehen, David’s son and current North Mankato Mayor.
“[My father] really always enjoyed having the Vikings here and hosting them for training camp, and all the pomp and circumstance that went along with that.”
Interestingly, long before he became a city official, David had built a rapport with the team through his practice as a chiropractor.
“His original relationship with the Vikings was working on the players when they came down for training camp,” Mark explained. “The players were looking for any edge to keep them physically healthy for camp as they worked to make the team. He worked with a lot of the Vikings in the ’60s and ’70s – [including] Fred Cox, who was the kicker and eventually became a Doctor of Chiropractic, as well.
“And my father was a bigger guy, so he worked well with the Vikings – the bigger, physical guys that he was dealing with,” Mark added.
Growing up in the Mankato area and being around the Vikings during training camp, Mark developed an affinity for football that matched his father’s.
The current mayor recalled visiting camp each summer as a young boy and standing beside his father on the sideline, watching in admiration as players approached and greeted his father. And then there were the games the two attended at Met Stadium, bundled up against the bitter winters that so starkly contrasted August in Mankato.
“I specifically remember one game … Sammy White caught a pass, came running [toward] the end zone to score the touchdown, and somebody came up behind him and knocked the ball out of his hand,” Mark said. “And then he had to slink over to the sidelines and face Coach Grant after not scoring the touchdown.”