Chet Coppock, the longtime Chicago sportscaster known for his showmanship on television and radio, has died of injuries suffered in a car accident in Savannah, Georgia. He was 70.
Coppock had been involved in a car crash on April 11 and died Wednesday with his family members by his side, according to ABC 7 Chicago.
Daughter Lyndsey Coppock posted on Facebook: “We lost our father, Chet Coppock, on April 17th due to complications from injuries he sustained in a car accident outside Hilton Head, SC. His passing is untimely, unexpected and painfully sad, but all we can do at this time is remember how lucky we were to have such a unique and creative trailblazer help shape into the adults we know he was so incredibly proud of.”
Lyndsey wrote Chet wanted a memorial service for family and friends to share memories. The family will release details when they’re available.
“Life is too short and you are never promised another day,” she wrote. “Tell your friends and family you love them, you never know when your last moments with them will be. We love you, Dad, and we are so proud of you.”
Coppock, a Northfield native who graduated from New Trier High School and Columbia College, was known as the “Godfather of Sports Talk Radio,” practically pioneering the industry with his radio show “Coppock on Sports” on WMAQ-AM in Chicago. Before that, he was the lead sportscaster at WMAQ-Channel 5.
“It can’t be overstated, without his success, doing what he did, there couldn’t have been even one sports station in this town,” former Sun-Times sportswriter Brian Hanley said. “He was such a showman, always on. He was one of a kind.”
Coppock had his own language, and his sayings were memorable. He often greeted callers to his radio show with “Your dime, your dance floor.” Not everyone liked it, but they were in the minority.
“His shtick was endearing to me, but some people thought he was a cartoon character,” Hanley said. “But he played it, he commanded a room, a press box. He was a great self promoter.”
“Everyone’s got a Chet impersonation and three to four go-to lines. That says something right there.”
Marc Silverman, co-host of the afternoon-drive show on ESPN 1000 with Tom Waddle, said Coppock was the soundtrack of his youth and sparked his passion for sports radio.
“Meeting Chet Coppock was like meeting Michael Jordan because that’s who I wanted to be,” Silverman said. “When I listened to him, I’m like, ‘I want to do that.’ ”
“The cliché Mount Rushmore of Chicago sports broadcasters, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s on it.”
Sun-Times reporter Satchel Price contributed to this story.