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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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Beano won an award as a Latin scholar at Kiski, then moved on to college (Brown and Pitt) where he converted his dormitory room into a collection and distribution center for laundry and football pool sheets. Entering the Army in 1954, he wangled an assignment to a Nike group stationed 20 minutes from his Pittsburgh home and there worked at something called "community relations," predating Max Shulman's Guido di Maggio by three years. In 21 months of service Beano rose to the rank of private first class and emerged with a letter of recommendation to Admiral Hamilton from Brigadier General S. M. Mellnik: "I commend him to anyone who needs a highly motivated individual."

Admiral Hamilton, intent on surrounding himself with men of action, got more than he bargained for in Beano. Beano's technique has taken him a long way. In any season he is apt to be found in New York City, Scranton, Pa. or Fort Worth, badgering columnists or quarreling with athletic directors. He is at once the most ardent advocate and ruthless perverter of the good-will trip.

At a cocktail party in Bear Mountain, N.Y. three years ago, he backed Major General Gar Davidson, then superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, into a corner and severely cross-examined him for having permitted Army's football team to be scheduled in New Orleans where spectators are segregated. Beano was not acutely socially conscious. He tangled with the general merely to curry favor with a sportswriter who had been panning Army for scheduling the New Orleans appearance. General Davidson, whose Army football team was, and is, a lucrative attraction on Pitt's schedule, was more fascinated than upset by Beano's impertinence. However, Admiral Hamilton summoned Beano first thing Monday morning and thundered at him with such fury that secretaries in the outer offices later swore the admiral had stripped the buttons off Beano's shirt.

Unsuppressed, Beano proceeded to Miami where he listened irritably while Miami Coach Andy Gustafson told a television audience of the marvelous western Pennsylvania football talent that Pitt was about to hurl at his poor boys. Gustafson concluded by saying, "We have the Pitt publicity man with us tonight. What do you think, Beano Cook?"

"Well," said Beano. "You ought to know what you're talking about, Gustafson. You go through the same coal mines."

"Thank you, Mr. Cook," snapped Gustafson, boxing Beano out of microphone range.

Beano's relentless attentions to Penn State, Pitt's hated rival, have led State's white-haired athletic director, Ernie McCoy, to face him nose to nose—and one who matches his nose against Beano's has indeed entered an over-the-weight match—and snarl:

"Well, Cook, you certainly have done an excellent job of convincing the world that Pitt gets all the brains and State gets all the morons."

Beano likewise has striven valiantly to convince the world that Rip Engle, State's football coach, has the most prolific tear ducts in his profession. Two years ago Engle stepped smack into a trap, which Beano slammed shut with spine-chilling shrieks of glee. Engle, smarting from a defeat at Syracuse, protested that it was virtually impossible for a team to play 55 minutes, as Syracuse had, without being assessed one penalty. Later in the season State played in Pittsburgh and defeated Pitt, but no defeat could have disturbed Beano less. For State had gone the entire 60 minutes without a penalty.

"Yah!" shouted Beano. "How come Engle isn't saying he didn't deserve to win?" Beano flung himself before his typewriter and soon had the U.S. mail choked with indictments of Engle's hypocrisy.

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