Stuart Scott, long-term anchor for ESPN, died on Sunday at the age of 49. Scott worked for the sports network for over 20 years, creating a legacy that inspired not only the players and co-anchors he worked beside, but also sports fans across the nation.
“He didn’t just push the envelope,” said former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick. “He bulldozed the envelope.” (ESPN.com)
Stuart was born in Chicago, but spent the majority of his younger years in Winston-Salem, NC. He attended the university of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where he studied speech communication.
Upon graduating, he landed his first job at WPDE-TV in Florence, South Carolina. From there his career accelerated immensely, landing him in Orlando, Florida to host the first “SportsCenter” in 1993. Steve Levy, a co-host alongside Scott noticed something special in “Stu.”
“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.” (ESPN.com)
Scott was eventually brought to the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut by Al Jaffe, ESPN’s vice president for talent. He began his first official assignments for “SportsSmash”, a short segment on ESPN2’s “SportsNight” program.
On November 26, 2007, while covering a Monday Night Football game, Stu had to be rushed to the hospital to have an emergency appendectomy, revealing a malignancy that required additional surgery. Despite complications with his health, Scott remained lively.
“That’s what I love about him,” said ESPN anchor, Suzy Kolber. “…No matter how bad it got, he never changed.” (ESPN.com)
Stuart continued to do SportsCenter, and worked hard despite continually fighting cancer. The disease reappeared in 2011, and by 2013, Scott revealed that he was going through chemotherapy.
Still Scott refused to give up saying, “I can take this.” He began doing mixed martial arts to stay fit and keep his mind off his daily pain.
In the summer of 2014, Scott was honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.
Although Scott’s legacy was built on what he did for ESPN, his acceptance speech during the awards ceremony are what many fans and supporters will remember him by.
“When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer,” Scott said in the July speech at the ESPY Awards. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”
Rest easy Stu.