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Dale Lolley, Observer-Reporter, Washington
Cope’s bombastic style and flamboyance became a hit not only among Steelers fans, but also among the players.
“The first time I got a good deal of playing time came in a game against Houston,” said John Banaszak, a defensive lineman with the Steelers from 1975 through 1981. “It was around the time of the anniversary of the Marines. I went out and had a good game and was given a game ball. Myron went on TV the next night and in his commentary, he said the Marines had landed, me being a former Marine. I remember thinking that I had made it because Myron had talked about me. And that’s the way it was. … When he talked about you on his commentary, you had to have done something special.”
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Mike Ciarochi, Herald-Standard, Uniontown:
As a newcomer to the Steelers beat, I was still trying to remember the names of all of the writers I had met.
When I got to the field, I was greeted by Cope. “Hi, Mike,” he said. “How’s everything in Uniontown?” Of all the people at camp, Cope was undoubtedly the most famous. Afterward, I thought to myself, if anyone has earned the right not to remember my name, especially after only one meeting, it was Cope.
Instead, Cope became the first to remember me and the first to call me by name. He made impressions on so many people, but just about everyone he met made an impression on Cope, as well.
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Patrick Cloonan, The Daily News, McKeesport:
One person who didn’t care for Cope — at least initially — was Ted Atkins.
Franklin C. Snyder, who headed the Hearst division that then included Channel 4, AM 1250 and FM 96.1, told Atkins to “closet himself in a hotel room and spend the day listening to our station.” He was told to write down his thoughts.
“The first words Atkins wrote on his pad were: ‘Fire Myron Cope.'”
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Ted Atkins, via Jeff Roteman’s WTAE radio page:
It didn’t take me long to realize I had a real gem on hand.
When I asked him to do a one-hour nightly sports-talk show he was very reluctant. He said he didn’t think he could handle talking to a bunch of drunks in a bar every night.
He only agreed to do it on a trial basis and, as they say, the rest is history. His success was immediate and the ratings were through the roof.
That show probably did as much as anything to create his reputation and image. Having Myron, the Steelers, Pitt and O’Brien & Garry were the four main ingredients in the WTAE stew. Yoi!
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Steve Doerschuk, The Repository, Canton, Ohio:
Myron Cope was Pittsburgh’s Pete Franklin. Franklin, who died in 2004, was arguably the most distinctive voice in Cleveland sports history. That’s arguably what Cope was in Pittsburgh.
In 1986, Franklin took it upon himself to end Cleveland’s 16-year losing streak at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium. He played a jingle over and over: “Break that jinx, break that jinx, we’re gonna bust on down to Pittsburgh and cream those finks.”
Cope agreed to go on Franklin’s show. They screamed at each other and spewed insults, Cope’s signature high-pitched voice reaching a squeal. Franklin wound up hanging up. It was hard to tell if it was shtick or real.
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Rick Green, Erie Times-News:
Certainly, anyone from Pittsburgh would say Cope was a celebrity. But for me, Wednesday’s news was received more like that of a good friend’s passing.
Growing up around Pittsburgh, you couldn’t help but think of Cope as a friend. You invited him into your home every day on the radio and on television.
I was out of state for Cope’s last radio broadcast. My father-in-law recorded it and sent it to me. I got a little misty-eyed listening to it more than a decade ago. I’m a little misty-eyed again.
Funeral arrangements for Myron Cope are private. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that donations be made to the Allegheny Valley School, 1996 Ewings Mill Road, Coraopolis 15108, or The Autism Society of Pittsburgh, 4371 Northern Pike, Monroeville 15146.
People throughout the region are remembering longtime Steelers broadcaster and WTAE radio/TV personality Myron Cope:
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Mike Bires, Beaver County Times:
He was such a brilliant writer that his story on sportscaster Howard Cosell was named one of the top 50 stories in Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary edition, which went to press in 2004.
But Cope’s life took a strange twist in 1968 when WTAE-AM radio hired him as a morning sports commentator. Two years later, he broadcast his first Steelers game.
From that point, Cope would become the conduit between the Steelers and their fans.
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Rick Weaver, Indiana Gazette:
In a region that reveres its broadcast institutions, few were more beloved than Cope.
Cope didn’t describe the action with the “perfect” voice that corporate media insists its announcers employ. The skills he developed en route to a career in freelance writing helped him shape the memories that we carry of when the Steelers bordered on unstoppable.
Cope didn’t disdain his roots. Heck, he flaunted them, what with his use of our region’s quirky dialect. And we treated him as what he was, one of our own.
We owe many thanks to Myron Cope. We thank him not only for his service and devotion to the Steelers but, most of all, for being Myron Cope. There will never be another like him.