About Chet Coppock

Colorful. Flamboyant. Energized. A Pioneer. A gifted interviewer. A human rolodex. An in-demand commercial announcer. A banquet-speaking powerhouse. Over the years, all these descriptions have been used to describe the unique broadcasting career of Chet Coppock.

Ask yourself these questions: Can you name a bohemian who’s been chosen man of the year by the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame? Can you name anyone who’s done the Roller Derby, and worked as a ring announcer for the World Wrestling Federation while winning a Peter Lisagor award in 1999 for journalistic excellence?

There is only one answer… Mr. Chet Coppock! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Chet has done national TV commercials for Wheaties with the late Walter Payton. For ten years, he teamed up with Michael Jordan as the Voice of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevrolet. For nine years, Coppock served as a sportscaster on WISH TV (CBS) in Indianapolis and WMAQ TV (NBC) in Chicago. And for three years, he hosted NewSport Talk, a New York-based live TV interview and call-in show carried by Cablevision.

This much is certain… Coppock’s interest in sports began almost as soon as he leaped out of the cradle. Through associations enjoyed by his father, Coppock was introduced at an early age to sports legends such as George Halas, Red Grange, Sid Luckman, Hall of Fame sportscaster Jack Brickhouse and a number of prominent Chicago sportswriters.

“I knew I was never going to be Johnny Unitas,” Coppock says. “By the time I was eight, I knew I was missing at least three ingredients to become an athlete – speed, a vertical jump and good hands.”

By the age of 17, Chet was broadcasting football and basketball on WNTH radio, the school radio station at New Trier H.S. in Winnetka, IL.

Four years later, in 1970-71, Coppock, just past his 22nd birthday, was hired to produce the Milwaukee Bucks radio network.

It was Coppock’s first taste of championship glory. The Bucks, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, captured an NBA title with a victory over Baltimore on Coppock’s 22nd birthday – April 30, 1971.

Coppock would shortly return to Chicago where he would host Sport Rap, a nightly TV talk show on WSNS TV, before eventually becoming a staff announcer with WFLD TV – yet another Windy City-based outlet.

While at WFLD, Coppock developed a friendship with promoter Gerry Seltzer. The association soon led Coppock into a role as the national TV voice of the Roller Derby, a position he occupied for several years.

“We were carried by 275 stations both on the mainland and around the world,” Coppock says joking about his run with the Derby. ” I’m convinced I’m one of just a few sportscasters who’ve ever received fan mail from Guam.’

By the mid-70s, Coppock was off to a six-year run as the sports director at WISH TV (CBS) in Indianapolis, where his anchor desk partners included Jane Pauley.

Perhaps the essence of Coppock’s ability to draw an audience was revealed when an Indianapolis magazine ran a survey to determine the most popular and unpopular sportscaster in the market. Coppock won both polls by sizeable margins.

Coppock returned home to Chicago in 1981, as he joined WMAQ TV for three years as a ‘6 and 10’ sportscaster.

In 1984, Coppock’s path took a different turn. While working as sports director at WMAQ radio, Coppock approached the station brass about doing an in-depth, interview-driven radio sports talk show. The move led to the creation of Coppock on Sports, a vehicle Coppock used to travel coast-to-coast, speaking with athletes, coaches, GMs and media members. The show’s success spawned numerous imitators. In fact, Coppock is often credited with creating the ‘sports magazine’ format used today by any number of radio outlets.

In 1988, Coppock moved to WLUP in Chicago to continue C.O.S., and also host the pre-game, half-time and post-game shows for the Chicago Bulls radio network. In 1991, Coppock picked up another championship moment when the Bulls and Michael Jordan captured their first of six titles over the next decade.

In 1994, Coppock fulfilled a dream – doing live TV in New York city – when he was tabbed to host NewSport Talk on Cablevision. The interview and personality driven program won the respect of the toughest crowd in North America – the New York TV critics.

A two-year stop at Fox Sports Net Chicago would follow in the late 90s.

And most recently, Coppock on Sports made a return to the airwaves, as Coppock served as a top-rated national talk show host on Sporting News Radio Network from August 2000 thru February 2006.

Coppock has received numerous honors and accolades over the years.

“I’m just as thrilled that I was chairman of Indiana Easter Seals and March of Dimes campaigns, as I am of having won Emmy awards and other broadcast honors,” Coppock says. “I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to give something back to the community wherever I’ve worked.

Coppock has served as the Illinois chairman of the Smiles for Little City campaign. He has been active with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Special Olympics.

A gifted commercial announcer who prides himself on ad-libbing all spots, Coppock has done work for numerous clients including McDonalds, Wheaties, Chevrolet and P.F. Chang’s china bistros.

Chet hosted The Back Table, a popular interview show that was carried by Sportschannel/Fox Sports Net during the 90s.

Coppock has also co-hosted The Mike Ditka radio show as well as talk shows featuring NBA coaches Phil Jackson and Doug Collins.

In 1990-91 Coppock’s seven-day work schedule also found him serving as the studio host for the NBA radio network.

Other credits include: Former public address announcer for the Chicago Bears; Hosted Chicago Bears’ luncheons for eight years beginning in 1986; Ring announcer for the World Wrestling Federation; Former Sunday columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times; Contributing author to Why I Hate the Dallas Cowboys and Who Made them America’s Team?

And finally, scholarships have been given in Coppock’s name by the Better Boys’ Foundation and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

8 Comments

  1. LARRY GROFF

    Chet when I was a teen, I watched the greatest tennis match that I ever saw. It was between Jimmy Connors and my faded memory cant recall if it was Borg or McEnroe. Im pretty sure it was McEnroe. Connors came back from losing the first set and the last 2 sets were tiebreakers. It was in the early 80’s on a snowy Dec night at The International Amphitheatre Volvo Tennis Series . I think you were there because if you didnt act as an announcer, you called it a great match on the news the next day. Do you remember it? It truly was as tremendous exhibition

  2. Tycee Shipley

    Hello,

    I was wondering if Chet ever covered any of the Roller Derby events at the Hammond Civic Center back in the 1970s??? I play for a local roller derby team in Northwest Indiana who will be bringing roller derby back to the Civic Center. While doing so, we are trying to drum up some of the history of Roller Derby at the Civic Center. If you have any information, I’d love to chat.

    Thank you,

    Tycee Shipley

  3. I must have missed that one(joke). I do rmemeber her telling us to pick an orange so she could get a picture of each of us doing it. Looking at the photos (Grandpa, Uncle and Aveline) looks like Uncle Chet also taught her to pick a pocket. 🙂 So Cute !!

  4. That first night game at Wrigley Field back in 1988 (8-8-88) was so great! Chet, you were sensational! Your personality is awesome! I was raptured by your coolness that night. A sports personality has the ability to cativate a fan, as you did that night back in 1988! It is amazing how that game was rained out! It is as if the wrath of PK Wrigley descended! (He never wanted the Cubs to have night baseball)…Chet, you have everything going for you, looks, brains, personality, and, not to mention, the best knowledge of Chicago sports, more than anybody else around!

  5. Chet! You’re just the coolest person around! I am enamored by your effervescent personality, your athletic ability, your sports knowledge, your incredible wit, and you sensational looks! You are perfect, Chet! I am such a big fan of yours!

  6. Springer Schultz

    Hi Chet:
    I firmly believe the 2 most talented radio personalities in Chicago that should be on the air right now are you and Garry Meier. It is a shame that other less talented people have shows and you and Garry are without an outlet.

    Now my question. Did you see the MLB Documentary on Hawk Harrelson?
    He mentioned he has a Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox world series rings, and he stated that there is only one other person that has that. Do you know who that is? I wrote on Chicago Media Chat and never got an answer.
    I am thinking maybe Carlton Fisk got complimentary rings from both teams.

  7. Davan S. Mani

    What was it like to work with Jane Pauley at WISH in Indianapolis?

  8. Hey, Chet…no longer on facebook? please contact me jerryseltz@aol.com……Jerry

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