Follow us:

Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

October 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM

On the death of Beano Cook . . .

Beano Cook died in the night at 81, and we lost a bit of the fabric of college football.

You may have known him through the tit-for-tat, give-and-take sessions he had every Tuesday of football season with KJR morning host Mitch Levy, who did an excellent job bringing out the essence of Beano.

Cook, of course, was an old-time slice of the game, starting out as a sports information director before his career assumed a much higher profile as an analyst on ESPN.

I didn’t know him personally. Only interviewed him once, as I recall, about 10-15 years ago.

He was of a different time, a time when you could count on games being early on a Saturday afternoon, not at 7:30 at night — or Tuesday or Wednesday night.

He appreciated the pageantry of an autumn afternoon at West Point on the Hudson. Of course, he was overly into the mystique of Notre Dame, famously forecasting once that Ron Powlus, the quarterback, would win two Heisman Trophies (or was it three?) at the school. He was also reverent about Joe Paterno, as lots of us were, before Paterno gave us stark evidence of his flaws.

I think of Beano as sort of a Walter Matthau figure from the old film The Odd Couple. He never married, settled in the place he grew up, Pittsburgh, and lived his last years there, never very far from the reach of sports.

He had a razor-sharp wit and could deliver a one-liner like Chris Paul dishes a basketball. He didn’t have a lot of time for baseball, and three decades ago, when commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced he was giving lifetime passes to hostages released in Iran, Cook said memorably, “Haven’t they suffered enough?”

At the end, he didn’t see fulfilled a wish about college football, his passion. On a video on the ESPN.com site, he says, “I know I’m gonna die. Once the season starts, wait until the championship game is over. Don’t tease me.”

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►