The Cardinal of College Football has passed away.
Beano Cook, who worked for ESPN for the last 26 years, passed away this morning in his sleep. He was 81 years old.
Cook, who worked as ABC Sports media director from 1966-1974 and did commentary for the network from 1982-1985, joined ESPN in 1986. Recently, he had been doing a weekly podcast with ESPN senior college football writers 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.”
Beano was known for his quips. USC tweeted one today: “It’s unfair that the USC Song Girls only appear at USC games … They should visit other teams across the country.”
Cook was a proud native of Pittsburgh, where he went to college. He began his career there as a sports publicist in 1956. The media room in Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center is named after him.
He recently wrote in his blog, saying that he was “Sorry to say that health issues hit me at the worst time — start of College Football Season,” he wrote October 1st. “Everything except recovery takes a back-burner now. I won’t say I’ll be back to the blog by a certain date, as some businesses might ‘promise,’ but I do hope to return soon. Thanks for your support and encouragement. Enjoy the season! — Beano.”