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Myron Cope
November 07, 1960
They are bringing fame, fortune—and angry looks—to Pittsburgh as the Panthers' compulsive publicist goes his antic way
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November 07, 1960

Beano And The "3 Cs"

They are bringing fame, fortune—and angry looks—to Pittsburgh as the Panthers' compulsive publicist goes his antic way

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Because coaches do not buy tickets, Beano has never been seriously concerned by their hostility. Only one man has ever been able to strike fear into his heart, and that was Admiral Hamilton, the burly, deep-voiced individualist who hired him.

Hamilton's office in the Pitt Field House was situated on the third floor of a layer-cake arrangement of athletic headquarters. Beano's was on the first floor. Arriving at work in the morning, Hamilton would light a cigar, pick up Beano's latest publicity release and lean back to study it. Frequently he would storm out to the catwalk that fronted the top floor, seize the railing as though he were back on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and thunder, "Bee-no!"

All 30 employees in the athletic department would sit up, the hackles rising on their necks, and Beano would crash out of his office and clamber upstairs, falling three times along the way.

What was it, anyhow, that could provoke such wrath?

The answer is to be found in Beano's conviction that the dry statistics and unimaginative prose mailed out daily by most of today's three-button press agents land directly in the wastebaskets of many sportswriters. "I know what I like to read in the papers," says Beano. "Controversy! I don't care if the writer is Ernest Hemingway—he's got to write some controversy!" Consequently, Beano always endeavors to inject some type of shock value into his publicity releases. One example:

"Idle thought: The Air Force Academy is a million dollars over its budget. If Pitt were, the Panthers would be undefeated, too."

Beano's modus operandi has been watched with incredulity by Leo (Horse) Czarnecki, the chunky head maintenance man of Pitt's athletic plant. "Listen," says Horse. "I seen the brass here so mad at Beano their eyes was popping out of their heads. But their words would bounce offa Beano like water offn an umbrella. Every time I think he's gonna fall he stands up straight and gets stronger. They give him a raise and pay his salary while he goes off to some summer school." (This past summer, significantly or not, Beano studied libel law at Northwestern.)

At work in his office, Beano scandalizes his secretary, Mrs. Doris Armstrong, who went to work for him last May after having left the employ of a sedate physician. Mrs. Armstrong, cupping a hand to her mouth, whispers, "He comes in from lunch and takes off his shirt and walks around all afternoon in his undershirt. He has hay fever, you know, so he wraps a turkish towel around his neck and blows his nose in it. Really! I should have to say he is hyperkinetic."

Beano comes by his flamboyance honestly enough. He is named for a great-uncle, Judge Carroll Cook, a florid mouthpiece for the De Young brothers, who founded the San Francisco Chronicle in 1865 and ran it as a theatrical and scandal sheet. Beano himself was born in San Francisco, the son of a securities broker, but was raised in Boston and Pittsburgh. He had wanted to become a sportswriter but while working as a copy boy for The Pittsburgh Press was advised, after submitting several news items, that he had no talent for writing. So, quite logically, he became a press agent.

In 1949, while still a student at Kiski Prep in Saltsburg, Pa., he persuaded a Pittsburgh sportswriter to compose an article about a lad named Chuck Cooley, whom Beano had represented as Kiski's finest all-round athlete. At the time, Kiski's student body also included a boy named Bob Mathias.

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