Bernard James "Bus" Mertes (October 6, 1921 – January 17, 2002) was an American football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Iowa and professionally in the National Football League (NFL) and the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) with the Chicago Cardinals, Los Angeles Dons, Baltimore Colts, and New York Giants. Mertes served as the head football coach at Bradley University from 1951 to 1952, at Kansas State University from 1955 to 1959, and at Drake University from 1960 to 1964, compiling a career college football coaching record of 50–63–1.

Bus Mertes
Bus Mertes.png
Mertes pictured in The Quax 1961, Drake yearbook
Biographical details
Born(1921-10-06)October 6, 1921
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJanuary 17, 2002(2002-01-17) (aged 80)
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Playing career
1942–1944Iowa Pre-Flight
1945Chicago Cardinals
1946Los Angeles Dons
1947–1949Baltimore Colts
1949New York Giants
Position(s)Running back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1950Bradley (backfield)
1953–1954Kansas State (backfield)
1955–1959Kansas State
1965–1966Denver Broncos (assistant)
1967–1984Minnesota Vikings (assistant)
Head coaching record

Coaching careerEdit

Kansas StateEdit

Mertes was the 24th head football coach at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and he held that position for five seasons, from 1955 until 1959. His record at Kansas State was 15–34–1.[1]


After leaving Kansas State following the 1959 season, Mertes became the 19th head football coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, serving for five seasons, from 1960 until 1964. His record at Drake was 27–19.[2]

Denver BroncosEdit

After leaving Drake following the 1964 season, Mertes joined the Denver Broncos of the American Football League as an assistant coach. He coached with Denver for two seasons.

Minnesota VikingsEdit

After leaving the Denver Broncos, Mertes joined Bud Grant's coaching staff on the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. He coached the running backs and special teams, working with players such as Bill Brown, Dave Osborn, Ed Marinaro, Chuck Foreman, Ted Brown, Darrin Nelson, Greg Coleman, and Fred Cox. As an assistant with the Vikings from 1967 to 1984, he coached in four Super Bowls.

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Bradley Braves (Missouri Valley Conference) (1951)
1951 Bradley 4–5 0–3 7th
Bradley Braves (Independent) (1952)
1952 Bradley 4–5
Bradley: 8–10 0–3
Kansas State (Big Seven / Big Eight Conference) (1955–1957)
1955 Kansas State 4–6 3–3 T–3rd
1956 Kansas State 3–7 2–4 T–5th
1957 Kansas State 3–6–1 2–4 T–5th
1958 Kansas State 3–7 2–4 5th
1959 Kansas State 2–8 1–5 7th
Kansas State: 15–34–1 10–20
Drake Bulldogs (NCAA College Division independent) (1960–1964)
1960 Drake 4–5
1961 Drake 5–4
1962 Drake 8–2
1963 Drake 4–4
1964 Drake 6–4
Drake: 27–19
Total: 50–63–1


External linksEdit