Renowned American television personality Beano Cook, who worked for ESPN, has passed away in his sleep. Cook left his family, friends and fans at the age of 81. His death was confirmed by the University of Pittsburgh, where he served from 1956-66 as the school's sports information director.
Beano Cook’s career as a football historian and commentator flourished after he received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954. He was most notable for his fixture of ESPN's college football coverage since 1986. He had seen generations of college football and people would respect him for the experience he had. According to USA Today, Cook was also considered as the grandfather of college football.
In addition to his usual college football commentary, he also worked as a freelance radio and television artist in the Pittsburgh area. Those who used to watch “The Hot List” on ESPNEWS every Thursday would certainly appreciate his debates about the sport with Brian Kenny. He was also heard weekly on ESPN Radio during “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and on Wednesdays he was a special guest on ESPN Radio's I-Formation hosted by Ivan Maisel.
Cook’s commentary was well liked by football followers. He was extremely witty and had the gift of the gab, which made his commentary more entertaining than others. Cook was very quick at quoting stats and figures and give examples from the past because of his vast knowledge about football. His knowledge about the sport fetched him the title of the "Cardinal of College Football".
Cook also co-hosted a weekly college football podcast along with Ivan Maiselt on ESPN.com. His colleague talked about his vast knowledge and effortless commentary by saying, "Beano loved college football, and he had the encyclopedic memory to prove it," according to a report by USA Today.
Maiselt added, "More than that, he loved people. He collected friends like some people collect stamps. People would say they don't make them like Beano, because of his ability to be so quotable. But Beano was one-of-a-kind in his friendship. I think all of us who valued that quality in him are very, very sad."
Cook talked about his deteriorating health in a blog post on Oct. 1. He wrote, "Health issues hit me at the worst time – start of college football season. 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."
Unfortunately, he was unable to return, but his work and contribution will surely remain alive.