Legendary Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock passed away Wednesday from injuries he sustained in an automobile accident near Hilton Head, South Carolina. He was 70.
A native of Northfield, Ill., who graduated from New Trier High School and Columbia College, Coppock was a top sports anchor at NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV Channel 5 in Chicago as well as a pioneering sports radio host. The colorful Coppock, who often wore a fur coat, also worked as an announcer for the World Wrestling Federation and roller derby.
Coppock's ties to the Bears ran deep. His father, Charles, was friends with George Halas and a business partner of longtime Bears coach Luke Johnsos. Coppock was a long-time Bears season-ticket holder who last year attended his 68th consecutive home opener. During a seven-year period in the 1970s, Coppock also served as Soldier Field's public address announcer for Bears games.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Coppock family," the Bears said in a statement. "Chet was a sports media legend who was a staple at Bears games, having attended the last 68 home openers. His presence will be deeply missed."
The Bears plan to honor Coppock by leaving a press box seat empty for him when they kick off the NFL's 100th season by hosting the Packers Thursday night, Sept. 5.
Coppock was also known for helping those he worked with further their careers. He discussed the importance of doing that in a 2011 article in a local newspaper when asked how he'd like to be remembered.
"When I eventually kick," Coppock told the Winnetka-Glencoe Patch, "I don't care whatever anybody thinks of my work, or where I screwed up. I always did my best to reach out and give people breaks in this industry."
Coppock's daughter, Lyndsey Coppock, announced her father's death on her Facebook page, writing: "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 (us) into the adults we know he was so incredibly proud of.
"Our father's wishes were to have a memorial service for friends and family to reflect on good times and to laugh, sharing memories of the past. When we have those details we will share them as soon as possible.
"Life is too short and you are never promised another day. 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."