What Dick Vitale did for the growth of college basketball, Beano Cook did the same thing for college football. Although Cook was not nearly as visible on TV as he aged in the last few years, his impact on the game he loved so much is undeniable.
My most distinct memories of Cook are his passionate rants about the greatness of Notre Dame, and quarterback Ron Pawlus, who was going to win five Heisman trophies.
I called former Baylor head coach and current American Football Coaches Association president Grant Teaff to discuss Cook's legacy:
Grant Teaff: "I don't know many folks that didn't know Beano. He had been around a long time. I would go into the meetings and there was Beano. For several years, he was a pretty good fixture and an influence in college football."
The Big Mac Blog: How did he influence it?
Grant Teaff: It seemed he was always around and involved in various ways and knew everybody. That was the thing that struck me. He was engaging and very unassuming. I had a lot of people who said that Beano had a big effect in the growth in college football.
The Big Mac Blog: Was he Dick Vitale for college football?
Grant Teaff: That's it. He kinda created an image of college football and a respect for it. Because of the uniqueness of his background and his vernaculare and he had a way of making all of us in the coaching profession feeling very comfortable.
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