Beano Cook began his sports career in 1956, not long after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. He would go on to become a beloved fixture in the competitive sports world and make a name for himself via CBS, ABC, and eventually ESPN, which became a second family to him. When it was announced today that the 81-year old had passed away in his sleep, friends, co-workers, and fans were shocked and saddened.
Cook went from sports publicist to commentator over the years, impressing friends and colleagues with his vast knowledge of the history surrounding college football and a fierce passion for the game. He left an impression on everyone he met, say those who knew him best.
“College Gameday” host Chris Fowler said as much in an interview about him today:
“Cook was an American original. His passion, depth and breadth of knowledge, and humor were unique. He was an invaluable early mentor to me and friend. His imprint can still be seen on ‘GameDay’ each week.”
Cook, whose first name was Carroll, earned the nickname “Beano” after moving to Pittsburgh from Boston as a child and telling a neighbor where they were from.
“Oh, from Boston, like the beans”, came the reply, and from then on the name stuck. It fit him well, as a man with a well-known sense of humor. That lighthearted spirit became just one of many things his peers would remember about him; as a public figure in Pennsylvania, he left a lasting legacy which will be remembered for many years to come.
“It’s a sad day for college football,” said Penn State coach Bill O’Brien. “Especially in the state of Pennsylvania, where he was an icon.”