Jack Cristil’s long career as the Mississippi State University voice of sports is of interest to a wider range of readers than just MSU alumni. With a career that lasted 58 years, he is an icon in a state that relishes sports. Veteran journalist Sid Salter has captured the history and highlights of Cristil’s life in this book.
Cristil, a Tupelo resident, praised Salter for the amount of research he did to write the book. “Sid found out more about my parents than I ever knew,” he said. “He’s done a world of research, and it’s been very interesting to me.”
The sportscaster called more than 1,500 play-by-play actions with his distinctive voice and focused descriptions on the field and court. He has the second longest record of service to one university in NCAA history. He was named Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year a record 21 times and became the first non-coach/non-athlete inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His numerous national honors include winning the Lindsey Nelson Award as the nation’s premier sports broadcaster.
“The truth is that Jack’s life story would have been an extraordinary story without his association with Mississippi State. I think that’s the surprise of this book for Jack’s longtime fans and friends,” Salter said.
Salter, who serves as journalist in residence at MSU, added that it was a real joy to work with Jack Cristil in telling his story. “Jack has worked hard and been a full partner in this process,” he said.
When Cristil took his final bow as the voice of MSU on Feb. 23, 2011, he said, “All good things, as they say in the trade, must come to an end sooner or later. Please accept my genuine; my honest and heartfelt thank you for the kindness that you have displayed to me during my 58 years. It has been one genuine pleasure to be associated with such a magnificent university.”
The 224-page book includes a compact disc of Cristil’s greatest football and basketball game calls. The foreword is by MSU alum John Grisham. All proceeds from sales of the book will go to the newly established Jacob S. ‘Jack’ Cristil Journalism Scholarship at MSU.
Salter was MSU Alumnus of the Year in 2004 and served as the first Kelly Gene Cook Chair of Journalism at Ole Miss. He’s a two-time winner of the J. Oliver Emmerich Award from the Mississippi Press Association.
>> Jack Cristil: The Voice of the MSU BulldogsBy Sid SalterPublished by University Press of Mississippi$39.95 hardcover