ESPN is reporting the sad news that Beano Cook, a college football icon who worked as a commentator at the sports network since 1986, died Wednesday night at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 81.
Cook’s passing was confirmed by the University of Pittsburgh through the school’s website on Thursday.
“Beano left a legacy never to be matched,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “We all feel a tremendous void in our lives today.”
Born in San Francisco, California in 1931, Carroll Hoff “Beano” Cook grew up in Pittsburgh before graduating from the university with his B.A. in 1954.
After a brief stint in the US Army, Cook spent ten years (1956 to March 1966) as a sports publicist for the University of Pittsburgh before moving on to work for ABC Sports, CBS, the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Dolphins.
One of his most famous quotes, according to Wikipedia, is “Haven’t they suffered enough?” after Bowie Kuhn, the Major League Baseball Commissioner, offered the returning hostages from the Iran hostage crisis lifetime baseball passes.
Cook joined ESPN as an analyst for college football in 1986 and because of his endless knowledge of the sport’s history earned the title “Cardinal of College Football.” In recent seasons he remained a frequent guest on ESPN Radio and also had a weekly popular podcast on ESPN.com with Ivan Maisel.
“He was one of a kind,” ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer said. “There never was and never will be another Beano. His combination of humor, passion, love of college football and his engaging personality left an indelible mark on the sport and touched anyone who knew him.”
ESPN pays tribute to Beano Cook in the video below: