ESPN analyst Beano Cook dies at age 81: Twitter reacts

By Jerry Hinnen | Staff Writer

ESPN college football analyst Carroll "Beano" Cook has died in his sleep at the age of 81, his friend and colleague Ivan Maisel reported this morning on Twitter:

Cook came to prominence as one of ESPN's first and most famous studio commentators in the network's early years of college football coverage, thanks to his visible love for the sport and encyclopedic knowledge of its history.

Cook was particularly fond of the game's early battles between its Midwestern powers and the service academies, an affection that helped lead him into his most famous on-air moment, when he predicted highly-recruited Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus would win two Heisman Trophies.

Though Powlus didn't quite live up to that billing, Cook's status as one of college football media's true originals was -- and remains -- secure. Though less visible than in his '80s and '90s heyday, Cook continued to have a presence across ESPN's college football platforms, including his regular podcast with Maisel.

From his early ESPN studio colleague Chris Fowler:

“Cook was an American original. 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.”

Cook was born in Boston in 1931 before moving to Pittsburgh as a child and attending the University of Pittsburgh. Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a Pitt athletic department spokesman confirmed that Cook had died during the night at the HCR Manor Care nursing facility in the suburb of Green Tree. After serving as Pitt's sports information director in the early days of his career, Cook maintained close ties to the school and the Panthers' program.

His passing led to tributes pouring in from across Twitter. From CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman:

From CBS Sports Network's Tim Brando:

From CBSSports.com's Tony Barnhart:

And others:

HT on some Tweets: SBNation

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