(Editor’s Note: Correction made to date when crash happened. – T.H.)
In news shocking everyone in Chicago sports and media circles, legendary sports anchor Chet Coppock died Wednesday from injuries sustained in a car crash near Hilton Head, S.C. on April 6. Coppock was a major influence on numerous media personalities in the business, and was a one-of-a-kind entertainer who made sports broadcasting quite interesting.
The news of Coppock’s death was announced by his daughter Lyndsey 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.
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.
A north suburban native, Coppock got his start hosting a sports show at WSNS-TV and became a staff announcer at WFLD-TV. He later moved to Indianapolis where he became sports anchor at then-CBS affiliate WISH-TV in 1974 and was known as a flamboyant sportscaster, for his outlandish personality and injecting opinions into his reports. He seems to relish in playing the “heel” or villain, in professional wrestling circles (and he did in fact, read professional wrestling results on the air.) He once was an announcer for Roller Derby and participated in Wrestlemania II – and even wrestled at bear at Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena in 1976.
Coppock returned to his home market of Chicago in the early 1980s. Even though his stint as a sportscaster at NBC’s WMAQ-TV was short-lived, he made his mark here as a Chicago sports radio talk show host for various stations, notably at the old WMAQ-AM as his style influenced several current sports radio talk show hosts in Chicago. In addition, Coppock was a commercial pitchman in the Chicago area for Chevrolet, McDonalds, and also appeared in ads alongside Michael Jordan and Walter Payton.
In the last twenty years, Coppock transitioned to author, writing five books – two of them memoirs. Recently, Coppock was touring local radio stations promoting his latest book, Your Dime, My Dance Floor published by Eckhartz Press. Other titles include If These Walls Could Talk: Chicago Bears Stories from the Chicago Bears Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box (co-authored with Otis Wilson) and Fat Guys Shouldn’t Be Dancin’ At Halftime. Coppock often made appearances with Lou Canellis during his Sunday night sports segments on WFLD.
Coppock was inducted to the Chicagoland Sports Hall Of Fame in 2013.
(Updated on 2019-04-22 at 4:47 p.m.)