Beano Cook, the colorful college football expert best known for his 26-year stint with ESPN, passed away Thursday at the age of 81.
Renowned for his dry wit and an extensive historical knowledge of the sport, Cook began his tenure with ESPN in 1986 and had previously served as a press publicist for both ABC Sports and CBS. The longtime Pittsburgh resident began his sports career as the sports information director at his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, in 1956 and held that position until 1966.
Cook left Pitt to become the NCAA press director for ABC Sports, where he remained until 1974, and also worked as a sportswriter for the St. Petersburg Times and the public relations director for the Miami Dolphins before joining CBS' public relations department in 1977 and staying there until 1982.
Cook maintained a strong relationship at Pitt even after his departure, with the working media room at the Petersen Events Center named in his honor in 2002.
"Beano left a legacy never to be matched," said Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson. "Not matched in accomplishment, wit or loyalty to Pitt and his friends. Like so many others, it has been my privilege to be the beneficiary of Beano's counsel and friendship. He loved the University of Pittsburgh and his name is synonymous with all good things at Pitt. We all feel a tremendous void in our lives today."
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cook was a diabetic who had been experiencing health problems over the past few years.