By: John Franklin
Early on the morning of Sunday January 4, 2015, I along with many other Sports Center fans received information we had been worried about hearing for a long time. Stuart Scott, long-time Sports Center anchor, had passed away at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer. This was his third bout with cancer after previously beating the odds twice. Scott will be remembered for his timeless lines of “Boo-Yah!”, “As cool as the other side of the pillow.”, and “He must be the bus driver because he is taking them to school”.
From a personal level, Stuart Scott was and still is one of my biggest heroes. Dan Patrick, former ESPN colleague of Scott, put it best saying, “He didn’t just push the envelope, he bulldozed it.” Stuart Scott, simply, was “COOL”. He made being a sports anchor much more than being a corporate man in a white shirt and red tie. Scott was innovative. He made strides in the field of sports anchoring that will forever change how people broadcast sports. The thing that I most noted about Scott was his ability to interact with his audience. He always said, “When the camera is on you, it’s yours. It’s your moment and your time.” And when the camera was on him, it was truly his moment. When he came on the television of any Sports Center fan, it was like having a conversation with a best friend.
In his 20 years anchoring the morning Sports Center, he paved the way for a new generation of anchors and broadcasters, one that includes me. Scott was in my living room every morning from when I was little and he has had a huge influence in my life. It sounds ridiculous because I never met him, but Scott showed me that when I get there and the camera is on me, I just have to be myself and own the moment. He taught me through his many catch phrases that delivering sports news was an art, and he was Van Gogh. It seemed that everything he said and everything he did was so easy for him. He didn’t lose the battle to cancer, he fought it with conviction reminding us to never lose faith and to always be strong. As he so eloquently put, “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” And so, Rest in Peace Stuart Scott. He was a hero, legend and mentor to all of us, and no matter what, he will always be as cool as the other side of the pillow.