Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Myron Cope Dies

Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers announcer Myron Cope died today at the age of 79....he served in the Steelers broadcast booth for 35 years and was the originator of The Terrible Towel...

Myron Cope (born January 23, 1929 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), whose given name is Myron Sydney Kopelman, was a color commentator for the Pittsburgh Steelers' radio broadcasts for 35 years. He is known for his nasal voice and a level of excitement rarely exhibited in the broadcast booth.

He is so far the only football announcer to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, and is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Cope was born in Pittsburgh. He graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He was originally a journalist before becoming a broadcaster. His first job was in Erie, Pennsylvania with the Daily Times. Cope then became a freelance journalist, most notably for Sports Illustrated. Cope's profile of Howard Cosell was selected by Sports Illustrated during its 50th Anniversary as one of the 50 best pieces ever published in the magazine.

In the late 1960s, Cope was being heard on the radio in Pittsburgh. His unique nasal voice was noticed by the Steelers' brass. He was made a member of the Steelers' radio team in 1970. As the Steelers won the Super Bowl four times, Cope gained a measure of fame.

His gold towel, called The
Terrible Towel, has become a rallying tool for the black and gold.Like other sports announcers in Pittsburgh, particularly the late Pirates announcer Bob Prince, Cope has a repertoire of unique catchphrases employed in his broadcasts such as "Hum-Hah!" and "Okel Dokel" (his version of "okey dokey").

Cope often uses Yiddish expressions, especially "Feh!" and "Yoi!" (sometimes multiplied as "Double Yoi" or "Triple Yoi").In keeping with his comic personality, a series of television commentaries on WTAE TV saw Cope calling himself "Doctor Cope" and wearing a white lab coat while pretending to examine the opposing team's strengths and weaknesses through a microscope he called "the Cope-roscope".Cope has also created nicknames for key players. It was Cope who gave Steelers running back Jerome Bettis the highly marketable nickname of "The Bus," and Kordell Stewart the name "Slash".

Cope's style was an important influence on Pittsburgh Penguins announcer Mike Lange and ESPN commentator Chris Berman.Cope used a wide range of nicknames for other teams including "Bungles" (Cincinnati Bengals), "Cleve Sandlotters" and "Cleve Brownies" (Cleveland Browns), "Mini Vikes" (Minnesota Vikings) and "Redfaces" (Washington Redskins).Cope's autobiography Double Yoi was published in 2002.Cope announced his retirement from broadcasting on June 21, 2005, citing his recent health concerns.

His retirement was major news in the entire Pittsburgh area. On June 28, 2005, it was announced Cope would receive the Pete Rozelle Award for long time exceptional contributions to pro football in television and radio.

On October 31, 2005, Cope was honored for his lifetime accomplishments at halftime of the contest between the Steelers and the Ravens.

1 comment:

jhwygirl said...

A beautiful fitting tribute.

Godspeed to Myron.