Beloved Iowa Sportscaster Dies After He Is Swept Away in Flood

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A veteran sportscaster known for his love of sports and commitment to his work has died after he was swept away in flash flooding that ravaged Iowa.

Larry Cotlar, 66, was driving down a flooded north Des Moines street when the vehicle stalled, leaving him unable to escape when the devastating waters came rushing down about 8:50 p.m. Saturday.

The van’s other occupants were able to escape, but Cotlar was swept away as he got out of the van, authorities said. His body was found several blocks away at about 12:40 a.m. Sunday.

Cotlar was a well-known sports radio personality who had been the voice of Drake University’s teams since 2005.

"Our hearts go out to Larry’s family and friends, especially the thousands of Bulldog fans in Des Moines who have come to know Larry as the voice of their hometown team,” Drake University President Marty Martin said in a statement. “Larry’s enthusiasm and dedication brought so much joy to so many in our community and beyond. We are deeply grateful for his long, proud service."

Cotlar was remembered for his dedication to his job and his tireless commitment to others.

“We all had the utmost respect — not just for Larry’s talent, but for the kind of quality person and colleague he was," Brian Hardin, athletic director for Drake University, said in a statement. “Larry was loyal, passionate and tireless. He touched the lives of so many, and leaves behind an incredible legacy here at Drake."

A prostate cancer survivor, Cotlar openly and often advocated for men to get checked and treated. 

Cotlar was involved with Easterseals, a nonprofit providing disability services, according to KCCI-TV

Cotlar was also a published author, having written "The Biggest Rolodex in Sports," a memoir about his lengthy career.

In 2007, Cotlar won the Iowa Sportscaster of the Year award after serving as a play-by-play announcer for Drake University’s men’s basketball team in the 2005-2006 season. 

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

“We have lost a special voice within our community," a GoFundMe page created in Cotlar’s memory to help the cleanup efforts in the area, as well as benefit the Lupus Foundation in honor of Cotlar’s father, who died from the disease. “To Larry: we thank you for your dedication to your craft, for your professionalism, for your willingness to lend your voice in support of great causes.  

“We thank you for being an example of a selfless human being and showing us how much you cared for all of us," the GoFundMe page continued. "Larry, you often said you were a ‘short Jewish man,’ but through your work you have become the tallest person we have ever known."


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