A widely-known radio personality died in the flash flooding Saturday night when his van stalled in flood waters.
Sixty-six-year-old Larry Cotlar had been the play-by-play announcer for Drake men’s basketball since 2003. For the past four seasons he had been the analyst on radio broadcasts of Drake football. Andy Garmin, the sports director at KCCI TV in Des Moines, worked alongside Cotlar on a sports radio talk show for five years.
“Larry was about the nicest person that I have ever met,” Garmin said. “He cared deeply about the people around him.”
Cotlar’s colleagues and competitors took to Twitter on Sunday to mourn his passing. Garmin uses words like “bighearted” and “tremendous friend” to describe Cotlar, who had worked for several radio stations in the Des Moines area.
“That came through on the radio waves,” Garmin said. “….They felt like they were sitting across the table from Larry when he was talking sports and that’s maybe the best compliment I can give.”
Garmin said it’s difficult to speak of Cotlar in the past tense.
“As much as he loved being on the air, he loved what inspired him off the air: time with his wife Deb and his stepson Zachary,” Garmin said. “He had just gotten into umpiring. He was umpiring Little League games, having the time of his life being around sports in that way.”
Garmin and Cotlar last spoke while Cotlar was umpiring a triple header in late June.