The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

December 13, 2012

Beano Cook made the perfect prediction in 1988

MORGANTOWN — I was saddened to learn that the legendary Beano Cook died recently in Pittsburgh.

He knew sports, especially football and basketball, and he loved to talk about them. In fact, he’d talk about a game at lengths with others.

I first met Beano in the mid-1950s. He was sports publicity director at the University of Pittsburgh.

Believe it or not, he and I got along fine over the years. Both of us were interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a story on the Pitt-West Virginia 100th anniversary of the “Backyard Brawl.”

You might recall that Cook’s last job before retiring was with ESPN. He specialized as a knowledgeable football spokesman.

Before that, he was a sports writer for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. But Pittsburgh was his hometown most of his life.

I’ll always remember him for a prediction he made.

It was that West Virginia’s 1988 football team would go undefeated and play for the national championship.

He couldn’t have been more accurate. The Mountaineers finished the regular season 11-0 and batteled Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl for the title on Jan. 2, 1989.

The Fighting Irish prevailed, 34-21. But WVU quarterback Major Harris played most of that game hurt. He injured his shoulder on WVU’s third offensive play of the game.

The only other person I know who made the same prediction was also a friend, Rick Kozlowski, sports editor of the Martinsburg Journal-News.

It was the first time West Virginia ever won all 11 games in the history of the institution.

———

Word has been received here that Dudley DeGroat Jr. died in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Dec. 7.

He was a halfback on West Virginia’s 1949 football team that was coached by his father, Dr. Dudley DaGroat Sr.

A picture of Dudley Jr. was to be on display at a memorial service. Both coach and player left after the 1949 season.

———

Friend Don Strimbeck, “captain” of a Tuesday morning breakfast club that I attend, passed around the latest example of Jeff Moores’ classic Morgantown art.

It’s a new shirt that portrays Sunnyside in a way that brings back memories while it stimulates the imagination.

You may want to check out Moores’ works at www.findharri.com.

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