Stuart Scott, father, activist, and anchor at ESPN, died Sunday January 4, 2015 morning after his long battle with cancer. He was 49.
Stuart Scott made famous the catchphrases “Boo-Yah!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow.”
“He didn’t just push the envelope,” says sports radio host and former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick. “He bulldozed it.”
According to ESPN, Stuart was born in Chicago, but he, along with two sisters and a brother, spent most of his younger years in North Carolina, where their father was a postal inspector who always had time to play after work. Stuart went to R.J. Reynolds High in Winston-Salem and then the University of North Carolina, where he played wide receiver and defensive back on the club football team, joined Alpha Phi Alpha and worked at the student radio station, WXYC. After graduating in 1987 with a degree in speech communication, Stuart was hired by WPDE-TV in Florence, S.C. He says that’s where he first came up with the pillow metaphor. “People say I stole it from a movie,” he told an interviewer in 1998, “but I first thought of that and said it on my first job … I just liked it.”
At the ESPYS on July 16, 2014 shortly before another round of cancer surgery, Stuart accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance with strength, humor, grace and these eloquent words: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
Stuart was loved by many, even his co-workers.
Steve Levy, who came to ESPN shortly before Stuart in August of 1993 and served as his co-host for the first “SportsCenter” from the new studio last June, said: “I think the audience recognized that when Stuart was on, there was going to be something special. And to his credit, he brought something special every night he was on.”
“SportsCenter” anchor Jay Harris, who grew up watching Stuart, stated, “Think about that phrase, ‘As cool as the other side of the pillow.’ It’s a hot, stifling night. You’re having trouble sleeping. But then you think to turn the pillow over, and, Wow, it’s cool, and it feels so good.