Beano Cook, ESPN College Football Commentator, Dies at 81

Beano Cook, 81-year-old ESPN commentator, has died this week. Cook was a longtime sports information director at the University of Pittsburgh and an ESPN college football studio commentator since 1986.

According to the University of Pittsburgh's announcement on Thursday, Cook died in his sleep Wednesday night at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Today is a sad day for college football, especially in the state of Pennsylvania, where he was an icon," said Penn State coach Bill O'Brien.

George Bodenheimer, ESPN executive chairman said in a statement: "He was one of a kind (…). 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."

Carroll Hoff "Beano" Cook grew up in Pittsburgh before graduating from the university with his B.A. in 1954. From 1956 to 1966, Cook spent his time as a sports publicist for the University of Pittsburgh.

Later Cook became a commentator for ABC from 1982 and was its media director from 1966 to 1974. He worked also for the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Dolphins, before joining ESPN as an analyst for college football in 1986.

ESPN host Chris Fowler remembers Beano Cook as an "American original." Fowler highlights that "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," he said.

According to the Associated Press, Cook's nickname came when his family moved from Boston to Pittsburgh. A neighbor of the Cook family said, "Oh, from Boston, like the beans."

They later tabbed the little boy "Beano."

"Beano left a legacy never to be matched. Not matched in accomplishment, wit or loyalty (…). 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," said Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson.

"We all feel a tremendous void in our lives today."