Then came Beano's
turn to speak. "We have, undoubtedly, our finest team since 1938," he
declared, "and what's more, we are a great second-half club."
players, an unskilled but prideful crew, read Beano's remarks in the papers and
proceeded in a white rage to demolish Pitt 14-0.
Late in the 1958
season Pitt traveled to Nebraska, needing only one more victory to close in on
an Orange Bowl contract. Nebraska had won only two games all season. Beano
plunged onstage before the television cameras in Lincoln and assured the
Cornhuskers that John Michelosen was a merciful coach who would not run up a
high score on them.
permitted Michelosen to run up six points while they ran up 14, thereby
canceling Pitt's chances of a bowl invitation. Although the Pitt team had
played badly, its coaches blamed Beano and did not speak to him for a
Only last year
Beano threw Michelosen, a strapping man, into a paroxysm of rage that surely
would have led to violence had Beano been within arm's reach. Pitt had opened
the season on the road, beating a second-rate Marquette by only six points, and
then had lost to Southern California 23-0. The next week, in their first home
game, the Panthers fell behind UCLA 14-6. They rallied to win, 25-21, but not
before Beano had subjected them to the most cutting of insults. Seeing them
trailing by eight points, he blatantly renounced them by directing the
public-address announcer to read off Pitt's basketball schedule.
"Basically," says Beano today, reflecting on the furious looks that
Michelosen directs at him, "I think Michelosen would like to have another
his assistants, living in dread of Beano's capacity for planting hot news items
in the sports pages, have erected an Iron Curtain against him. They stand
behind it, bracing it with their meaty shoulders, but Beano crashes through on
a charger named Gall. "He'll sit in on a staff meeting even when he knows
he's not wanted," says Backfield Coach Vic Fusia. "He'll take all the
insults we can throw at him, and he'll sit there till he gets something
newsworthy. You could take a punch at him, but somehow it would be like hitting
Coaches of other
schools have tendered their deepest sympathies to the Pitt staff. Two years
ago, for example, Art (Pappy) Lewis addressed the Pittsburgh Curbstone Coaches
in his capacity as head football coach of West Virginia University. Detecting
Beano in the audience, Pappy declared, "I'd rather play an 11-game schedule
than have Beano Cook as my publicity man."
right, Lewis," Beano shouted, bolting to his feet, "I'll last longer
than you will!"
Lewis lasted only
one more season at West Virginia.