Long time ESPN Sportscenter anchor Stuart Scott has lost his battle with cancer.
Scott started his twenty-plus year stay with ESPN in 1993 on the then newly launched EPSN 2 network on SportsNight. Soon after, Scott brought his vibrant personality to the anchor desk of ESPN’s flagship news show SportsCenter during an era that catapulted the show and the network into the zeitgeist of mainstream popular culture with broadcasts comprised of sharp, witty observations, tight, comedy team-like repartee, and memorable catch phrases. Among these were Scott’s call of “BOOYAH!,” used to accentuate an outstanding play, and “As cool as the other side of the pillow,” meant to describe a play featuring smooth finesse.
As Scott’s contemporaries Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, and Rich Eisen, amongst others, left the network, Scott remained, eventually becoming one of the longest tenured reporters at the network alongside Chris Berman. As ESPN’s Steve Wulf reported, every colleague and interviewee of Scott’s revered and respected him not only for his straight-to-the-point style of questioning, but also for his exciting, contagious, ever positive personality as ESPN’s Jay Harris remembered.
“Think about that phrase, ‘As cool as the other side of the pillow.’ It’s a hot, stifling night. You’re having trouble sleeping. But then you think to turn the pillow over, and, Wow, it’s cool, and it feels so good. Well, that’s who Stuart is. He is ‘the other side of pillow,’ the man who made sports casting cool. God bless whoever it was who thought to rearrange the bedding at ESPN.”
This past July, Scott was honored during the network’s ESPY Awards broadcast with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance with Strength, Humor, and Grace. A weakened Scott attended the show to accept the honor, having just been released from the hospital after suffering a setback in his most recent round of cancer treatment. Rather than exhibit pity or weakness, Scott shined as an example of strength and inspiration, detailing the harrowing struggle of his body nearly shutting down while providing a mantra designed to enable all cancer suffers to never stop fighting.
“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
ESPN released a statement regarding Scott’s passing as reported by the Charlotte Observer.
“He inspired his colleagues with his sheer talent, his work ethic and his devotion to his daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15. He defied convention and criticism to help bring this network into a new century.”
Scott is survived by his two daughters. He was 49-years-old.