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Maroon Moment of the Week: Jack Cristil’s First Broadcast

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The legendary Jack Cristil made his first call in 1953 for the Mississippi State Maroons.

Jack called games for 58 years before retiring in 2011

You may be asking yourself, “What is Maroon Moment of the Week?”. Well, it’s a new series of articles I will be writing. Each week, I will be highlighting a certain moment, play, or even a call that is special to Mississippi State Athletics. If you have any feedback you want to share, please e-mail me at GavinMosley29@gmail.com and leave your feedback in the comments as well. Now onto business.

Jack Cristil was the voice of the Bulldogs for 58 years before retiring in 2011. He called some of the greatest moments in both MSU football and basketball history. So in honor of the beginning of this series of articles, I figured we’d start at the beginning of Jack’s career calling football games for the Bulldogs.

It was 1953 and Jack Cristil was just starting his legendary career as the voice of the Bulldogs. Not long before then, he had been a radio broadcaster for Minor League Baseball teams all across Alabama and Tennessee and graduated from Minnesota after studying Broadcast Journalism. He sent an audition tape to school legend C.R “Dudy” Noble in August of 1953 and called his first game in September of that same year.

At the time, the Bulldogs were known as the Mississippi State Maroons and the SEC was still in it’s early days when it still featured Sewanee, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Tulane.

Jack’s first game was the opening game of the 1953 season where the Maroons traveled to Memphis State (now simply known as Memphis). That day, the Maroons picked up a 34-6 win over the Tigers. The Maroons would finish that season at a modest 5–2–3 (3–1–3 in SEC play). Then MSU QB Jackie Parker would win SEC Player of the Year before having a long career in the CFL. But that season will always be remembered for Jack Cristil making his debut as the head radio man. In 1957, Jack would make his debut in men’s basketball.

Over his 58-year tenure (1953–2011), Cristil called 636 football games (or roughly 63% of all football games played by Mississippi State) and 1,538 basketball games (or roughly 55% of all basketball games played by Mississippi State). Jack sadly passed away on September 7, 2014, but his legacy still lives on. Current live mascot, Bully XXI, has the name Jak (a mix of both Cristil and legendary QB Dak Prescott’s first names).

Jack’s voice will never be forgotten and his catch phrase of “You can wrap this one in Maroon and White” after a Bulldog win is often imitated, but never replicated. He will forever be missed.