A generation of Twin Cities sports fans may recall the football sports predictions of Sue Cox, aka Bronco, on WCCO broadcasts during the 1960s and ’70s.
The model delivered predictions for professional and college football games over two decades with distinct flair — including hot pants, go-go boots and glittering evening gowns. For much of the time, she was married to Bobby Cox, the legendary University of Minnesota quarterback in the 1950s.
A 1971 article in the Minneapolis Tribune described Cox (later Platou, after remarrying) as “an attractive blonde” who used “women’s intuition” when offering picks. In truth, she combed through sports stories and injury reports to prepare, and her accuracy rate was 70 to 80 percent as a result.
“Jimmy the Greek called her a lot to get some tips,” said her daughter, Sarah Cox of Minneapolis, referring to the Las Vegas bookmaker and sportscaster. “She was a trailblazer in sports. She was more than a beautiful face; she was smart and she did the job well.”
Susan Cox Platou of Wayzata died Christmas Day from lung disease. She was 83.
The Minneapolis Star also ran a sports column for many years called Ask Bronco, a mix of her insight and moxie. In her 1973 debut, a reader from Fridley asked if football players are “swingers.”
“The only swingers I know play baseball,” Bronco replied.
Born in Minneapolis on May 1, 1935, Platou exhibited an early talent for painting and sculpture, studying art history at the University of Minnesota, where she met Cox. She taught briefly at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and her artwork was featured at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.
Platou raised three children and was also a volunteer for many causes, including Planned Parenthood, the Special Olympics, the Raptor Center, the U’s Alumni Association, the Guthrie Theater and the Breck School.
She was a devoted supporter of the Minnesota Orchestra. “Sue was a very bright light on the Minnesota Orchestra board: Perceptive, positive and totally committed,” the orchestra said in a statement.
Platou chaired orchestra committees and served as president of WAMSO (now Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra) from 1984 to 1986 and as a director emerita of the orchestra board. “She was a trailblazer who made everything that she was involved in better and a kind person who was truly beloved,” the orchestra said.
In 1977, she married Carl Platou, a visionary who led Fairview Health Systems. The two enjoyed traveling, especially to Sanibel Island in Florida, and spending summers at home on Lake Minnetonka. She entertained with aplomb — last-minute parties seemed like they “were planned for weeks,” her daughter Sarah said. “She was inclusive and generous.”
Platou appreciated beauty in art, music and nature. “But most of all, she appreciated the beauty of what she saw in people,” Sarah said. “She would look for and recognize the beauty inside of you and outside of you.”
In addition to daughter Sarah, Platou is survived by sons Robert Cox of Los Angeles and Christopher Cox of Mound; stepchildren Ken Platou of Mount Shasta, Calif., Pepper Kenney of Peoria, Ill., Patsy Garlinghouse of Lihue, Hawaii, and Nancy Steinke of Minnetonka Beach; brother John Kumpf of Dallas and sister Mary Emerson of Woodbury; three grandchildren and seven stepgrandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at Wayzata Community Church, with visitation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and a reception to follow.