Local

‘Godfather of Sports’ died Wednesday after car crash in Bluffton area earlier this month

This June 20, 2005, file photo shows Chet Coppock, a successful sports radio and TV personality in Chicago. The longtime Chicago sportscaster has died at age 70 after a car accident more than a week ago.
This June 20, 2005, file photo shows Chet Coppock, a successful sports radio and TV personality in Chicago. The longtime Chicago sportscaster has died at age 70 after a car accident more than a week ago. Chicago Tribune via AP, File

Well-known sportscaster Chet Coppock, 70, died in a Savannah hospital Wednesday from injuries he sustained in an April 6 car crash in Okatie.

A Hammond, Indiana, woman was driving the 2004 Lexus that Coppock was a passenger in when the crash occurred, S.C. Highway Patrol spokesperson Lance Cpl. Matt Southern said Thursday.

The woman was driving southbound on S.C. 170 near Tidewatch Drive at 1:04 p.m. when her car crossed the median and struck a 2018 Land Rover traveling in the opposite direction, Southern said. The Land Rover then stuck a 2019 Chevrolet two-door traveling in the same direction.

Both the driver of the Land Rover and the driver of the Chevrolet are Bluffton residents.

Coppock, all three drivers and one additional passenger who was in the Chevrolet were transported to a nearby hospital with injuries. All were reported to be wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Coppock died from his injuries a week and a half later.

Southern said the collision is still under investigation.

Coppock — who was known as the “The Godfather of Sports” for his trademark style, experience and major contributions in sports broadcasting — had a decades-long career in multiple cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and New York, according to his obituary.

Among many things, he had been the voice of Notre Dame Football, a studio host for the NBA Network, worked at Fox Sports Net and Sporting News Radio, wrote columns for the Chicago Sun-Times and even wrestled a live brown bear.

Coppock’s children, Tyler and Lyndsey, traveled to be with their father after the crash.

Tyler said his dad had been in the Lowcountry on vacation and doing some audio for a sports documentary.

Growing up, Tyler said he remembers going to sporting events with his dad like baseball games and wrestling matches but Coppock was always a dad and husband before anything else.

Tyler said over the past day or so he’s seen a lot of people sharing stories about his dad, like Coppock giving them advice or helping to launch their career. He said that’s how he wants his dad to be remembered.

“He was helpful, kind and original,” Tyler said.

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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