Beano Cook, ESPN College Football Analyst, Dies at Age 81

Beano Cook, ESPN College Football Analyst, Dies at Age 81
Carroll "Beano" Cook poses for a portrait in this file photo taken in 2001 and provided by ESPN. Cook has died. He was 81. Source: ESPN via AP Photo

Beano Cook, who delivered college football television commentary in a nasal voice for 30 years, has died at the age of 81.

Cook’s death was announced by ESPN in a Twitter post. Bill Hofheimer, a spokesman for the Walt Disney Co. network, confirmed Cook’s passing in an e-mail.

Cook died overnight in Pittsburgh, his hometown for 74 years, ESPN said. It gave no cause of death.

“He was one of a kind,” George Bodenheimer, ESPN executive chairman, said in a statement released on Twitter. “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 joined ESPN as a college football studio commentator and occasional sideline reporter in 1986, after four years as a studio analyst with ABC Sports.

“You only have to bat a thousand in two things -- flying and heart transplants,” he once said in his trademark twang. “Everything else, you can go four for five.”

Cook said in a blog post on Oct. 1 that he was ill.

“Sorry to say that health issues hit me at the worst time -- start of college football season,” he said. “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!”

Boston Roots

Carroll H. Cook was born Sept. 1, 1931, according to his biography on After his family moved to Pittsburgh from Boston when he was 7, a new neighbor said, “Oh, from Boston, like the beans,” nicknaming Cook “Beano.”

Cook graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954 and spent 21 months in the Army before becoming the sports information director at his alma mater. He worked in sports public relations, including a stint with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, and also was a sportswriter for the St. Petersburg Times before joining ABC in 1982.

“I’d like to do the last scoreboard show and then go,” Cook said in 1988. “I don’t want to die in the middle of the football season. I have to know who’s No. 1 in the last polls.”

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