Yesterday fans were scared that the world was going to lose wrestling great Ric Flair. It sounds like he is going to be fine. However, the sports world did lose someone last month. It seemed to go under the radar. This time of year features the NHL and NBA playoffs, baseball games, and the NFL draft.
One month ago today, Chet Coppock passed away. He was in a car crash, and died due to the injuries he sustained. Last month I saw that Chet was trending on twitter, and knew that was bad news. Most of my memories involving Chet are from about 25 years ago. I understand that the younger generation isn’t familiar with him. Coppock was the Chicago ring announcer for Wrestlemania II, so that earns him points in my book.
How was I introduced to a Chicago sportscaster? Well, I often paint the picture of just how different life was when I grew up. We know that this was before you could easily go on your computer or phone to get scores. Even television was very different. We didn’t have constant scrolls on the bottom line of every sports channel. ESPN2 debuted in 1993, and we did not even have it when the channel started. One place became popular for me when I wanted scores. Channel 12. It was Newsport, and Coppock hosted a show called NewSportTalk.
At first he was pretty much background noise as the scores went by. This is a good opportunity to point out that my fantastic 1994 achievement is now 25 years old. I went 10-0 on my parlay sheet. Even though it only paid 200-1 and some places gave out 300-1. When I saw that the Patriots had tied Minnesota at 20 to force overtime and the game had gone over 39, my tenth win was sealed. I remember celebrating after seeing the update on Newsport.
Anyway, a funny thing happened. I started to tune in specifically for Chet’s show. Or, I would leave it on after catching up on scores to hear his guests. Fran Fraschilla tweeted about his appearances on Chet’s program after Coppock’s passing. The “Godfather of Sports Talk Radio” was 70 years old. RIP Chet.