Longtime college football analyst Beano Cook died on Thursday morning in a Pittsburgh nursing home at the age of 81. He had been battling complications with diabetes and heart disease.

Carroll Hoff Cook was born on September 1, 1931 in Boston. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he earned the nickname “Beano” for his Boston “Beantown” roots. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where, after serving two years in the Army, he worked as the school’s sports publicist. He left the University of Pittsburgh after ten years and moved on to positions at CBS, ABC and eventually, in 1986, ESPN, where he became a mainstay on college football Saturdays. Along with “Beano,” he earned the moniker, "Cardinal of College Football.”

He received the Bert McGrane Award in 2010 from the Football Writers Association of America for “outstanding contribution to the organization.” Cook leaves behind a sparkling reputation.

"Beano loved college football, and he had the encyclopedic memory to prove it," Ivan Maisel told USA Today, of his cohost on the ESPN podcast I-Formation. "More than that, he loved people. He collected friends like some people collect stamps. People would say they don't make them like Beano, because of his ability to be so quotable. But Beano was one-of-a-kind in his friendship. I think all of us who valued that quality in him are very, very sad."

One story often told about Cook that captures his candor, however, concerns baseball, not football. Following the Iran Hostage Crisis, the commissioner of Major League Baseball at the time, Bowie Kuhn, gave the hostages free tickets to Major League Baseball for life, to which Cook responded, “Haven’t they suffered enough?”

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