BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - A friend of the legendary Bud Grant caught one of his final days on camera, and it’s a memory those closest to the former coach and athlete will cherish forever.
Grant, the legendary former coach of the Minnesota Vikings, died Saturday at the age of 95. His friend Buddy Becker said Grant remained sharp until the very end, and he was supposed to see him on the day of his life.
"We didn't see it coming," Becker said. "You just always anticipate there's going to be more: more time and more time, and when it's gone, it's hard."
Becker, who's in the real estate business, saw Grant for the last time when he visited him at his Bloomington home Thursday night. Grant’s partner, Pat, suggested they start talking about downsizing, but he wouldn't hear of it.
"This is where I want to die, he told me, is in my home. He said, ‘I've raised a good family and I'm taking care of the kids. My grandkids are taken care of. I'm not a rich man, but I've done things the right way I believe,’" Becker said.
After that, Grant pulled out an article about his days with the Minneapolis Lakers. That’s when Becker took what is believed to be the final photo and video of the Vikings legend.
"I took it more for my son. My son loves basketball, and he's 14 years old now and he goes with me to visit Bud sometimes and they talk basketball. I wanted him to see that article," Becker said. "It's the last picture taken of him – Thursday evening. So I guess we'll always have that and the memories, of course."
Becker’s family shares a home with former Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer in Blaine. Their basement, plastered in purple and gold, honors Vikings greats, including the man who led the team to four Super Bowls.
Becker and Grant’s friendship was built on their ties to Wisconsin, but it went much deeper.
"Bud grew up in Superior – just south of there, and so did I," Becker said. "He was always asking about how my family was. You know, how's my son, how's Tommy doing?" Becker said.
Kramer introduced Becker to Grant, his former coach, whom he called "a tremendous athlete." The former QB reminisced back to the day when Grant took the field to do a coin toss in below-zero temperatures.
"So they're introducing everybody, and here comes Bud out there with a short-sleeve shirt on. Man, it was cold," Kramer said.
Becker said he and Grant had been planning to visit a Wisconsin supper club together, but they never got the chance. So now, Becker and Kramer plan to take Grant's partner, Pat, there for dinner as a way to honor Grant's legacy.