PITTSBURGH (AP) — The folksy ESPN college football commentator Beano Cook has died.
The 81 year-old commentator had worked for the sports network since 1986 and was the sports information director at his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, from 1956 to 1966. The university announced Thursday that Cook had died in his sleep.
"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."
Cook grew up in Pittsburgh before graduating from the university in 1954, and was known for his love of the college game and, in particular, championing the cause of northeastern teams including Penn State and Pitt before either school was a nationally known power.
"Beano Cook was an American original. His passion, depth and breadth of knowledge, and humor were unique," ESPN host Chris Fowler said. "He was an invaluable early mentor to me and friend. His imprint can still be seen on GameDay each week."