Veteran ESPN commentator Cook dead at 81

9:12 am | October 12, 2012

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Beano Cook, the college football commentator with an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport he dearly loved, has died.

The 81-year-old Boston native had worked for ESPN since 1986 and was the sports information director at his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, from 1956 to 1966. The school announced Thursday that Cook had died in his sleep.

Cook was a diabetic and his health had been failing recently, as he made mention in his most recent blog post at www.bean-cook.com.

“Sorry to say that health issues hit me at the worst time — start of College Football Season,” he wrote in a post dated Oct. 1. “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. Thanks for your support and encouragement. Enjoy the season! — Beano”

Born Carroll H. Cook, he 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.”

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