When Taylor died, The Des Moines Register ran four stories, and The Tribune in Ames four more, and listener Tim Frisch of Stillwater, Minn., wrote the Cyclones' athletic department to say, "I have never shed a tear over the passing of someone I didn't know. Until today."
"I'm world-famous all over Canada," says a character in a novel by Mordecai Richler. Taylor was like that: world-famous all over Iowa. Heft, distraught, was physically incapable of broadcasting last week's game against Missouri. Grizzled reporters, with armadillo-thick skin, found themselves sobbing. "I cried like a baby," says anchorman Cooney, part of a daisy chain of Iowa broadcasters that goes all the way back to Ronald Reagan.
"It's funny," Cooney adds after a pause. "The guy without the catchphrase lasted the longest here, and became the best loved." It is funny. And instructive. A humble, private, professional man was, it turns out, the Best Damn Sports Show, Period.