Monday, January 5, 2015

1.5.15 Hero of the Day: Stuart Scott

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on



Name: Stuart Scott
Age: was 49
Occupation: sportscaster
Last Seen: Connecticut
Awarded For: being one of the greatest sports anchors of all time

The New Year is only five days old, but the Grim Reaper is already working overtime.

So far, we've lost former New York governor Mario Cuomo, Beverly Hillbillies actress Donna Douglas and long-time Grand Ole Opry member "Little" Jimmy Dickens, whose career started right here in Michigan in 1948 at Saginaw radio station WKNX (which ended up moving to my old homeland of Traverse City in 1997 and is now WJNL 1210, simulcasting WJML 1110 out of Petoskey).

But all three lived nice, long lives. When the news of Stuart Scott's death was announced yesterday at the tender age of 49, his former colleagues at ESPN including Hannah Storm and Rich Eisen did their damndest to fight back tears while announcing his passing. Even though he fought a long, hard seven-year battle with cancer, the thought of losing a man who left behind two teenaged daughters and loved his career was clearly unbearable.

Born and raised in Chicago, Scott started out as a news reporter working in the Carolinas. In the early 90's, he found himself working in Orlando at NBC station WESH. But in 1993, he found his calling at upstart ESPN2 hosting SportsNight. Eventually, he found himself hosting SportsCenter on ESPN, where viewers were treated by his many catchphrases such as "BOO-YAH!" and "cooler than the other side of the pillow". During his tenure at ESPN, Scott interviewed two presidents - Obama and Clinton - and many sports personalities. He was even parodied on Saturday Night Live by Tim Meadows.

However, like Gilda Radner was to SNL, Scott was to ESPN. He'll forever be known for his fight with cancer, which started in 2007 which he needed an appendectomy while covering the Dolphins-Steelers game in Pittsburgh. However, the cancer returned three years later but was in remission again in 2012. In 2013, the cancer was back.

Last year at the ESPY Awards, Scott was awarded with the Jimmy V Awarded for his ongoing with with the disease. He announced that he had four surgeries that week and also had kidney failure. He was skinny and frail, but his spirit was still there, especially with his two daughters, Taelor and Sydni. At the end of his speech, Scott asked Sydni to come up and hug him. Ironically, another former ESPN anchor, Robin Roberts - also a cancer survivor - was in attendance.

On Sunday, Scott's fight with cancer ended. During his ESPY speech, he told the crowd that if he were to die from cancer, it didn't mean that he lost the battle. He was right. What really happened was that God got him out of his frail body and simply moved his soul to a better place.

Not long ago, I was reading about how ABC was moving their entire news archive to ESPN's vast facilities in Connecticut. In the article, they talked about how they were able to locate one of the network's first-ever NCAA basketball games, which aired in 1979. I'm sure that the network has saved hundreds - maybe thousands - of hours of Scott's boo-yahs and other clever sayings. He'll live forever on videotape and in our memories. He accomplished more in 49 years than many of us will accomplish ever. He did have his critics who felt that he had no place in front of the camera, but I think he had more friends than enemies.

And I think Hannah Storm and Rich Eisen's tears were proof.


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