Former Miss America, sportscasting pioneer Phyllis Ann George has passed away

Phyllis George

The former Miss America pageant victor and pioneering sportscaster, passed away Friday "following a long struggle with a blood disorder", according to reports.

According to reports, George, who co-hosted CBS's NFL Today show in the 1970s and 1980s, died Thursday at the age of 70.

A native of Texas, George was crowned Miss America in 1971, and went to work for CBS Sports three years later.

Phyllis Ann George was one of a kind, and now she's gone. "Phyllis was not only a key member of a show that remains the gold standard of NFL pregame shows, the NFL Today with Brent, Irv and 'The Greek, ' but also a pioneer for all women in broadcasting".

Her former co-host, Brent Musburger tweeted, "Phyllis George was special".

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George worked on "NFL Today" until 1984 and covered horse racing for the network as well. She was First Lady of Kentucky from 1979-83 when her then-husband, Kentucky Fried Chicken owner John Y. Brown Jr., was governor (Brown also owned the Boston Celtics for a time). Brown had developed the disorder when she was in her 30s but had managed it for decades. The two divorced in 1998, though maintained "a great partnership" and "enjoyed every single day", Brown said. "And later, always give credit to the people who were there with you at the beginning".

"It's a testament to her unwavering spirit and determination she made it this long, 10 years longer than any doctor ever thought possible", Lincoln said.

'She was herself-charming and amusing. helped her audiences connect with some of the great sports figures of the day'. "Mom said that when she stopped reading the letters, she gained so much confidence". Her first big break when she was hired as a commentator with CBS Sports.

WKYT sports anchor and reporter Dave Baker says she made it possible because she was a perfectionist. She joined the organization's board of directors, one of the first past winners to do so. Her range is what impresses me the most", former Kentucky and Louisville coach Rick Pitino, now at Iona, wrote in the forward to her memoir, "Never Say Never: "Ten lessons to turn you can't into YES I CAN". "Each step along the way, she embraced the mission at hand".

In 1980, in her role as a cultural ambassador for the state, George founded the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, now known as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

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