A life wrapped in maroon and white

The “Voice of the Bulldogs” will forever be wrapped in maroon and white memories.

The Mississippi State University Bulldog family gathered in the Humphrey Coliseum on September 11 to celebrate the life and play-by-play radio calls of Jacob Sanford “Jack” Cristil. He died September 7 at age 88.

For 58 years, from 1953 until 2011, Cristil was on the mic for the Mississippi State Radio Network’s broadcast of football and basketball games. He called 636 football games, 60 percent of all those played in MSU history, and 1,538 basketball games, or 55 percent of all the games played.

“He made millions of friends for our university and did as much to promote Mississippi State and its good name as anybody ever has,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “Jack was always a deeply caring, generous man.”

Cristil’s daughters, Kay Cristil Clouatre of Denham Springs, Louisiana, and Rebecca Cristil Nelson of Tupelo, thanked the MSU family for its support not only for their father, but also for them.

“I cannot tell you how much Mississippi State has meant to us as a family,” Clouatre said. “My home is not just in Tupelo: it will always be at Mississippi State University.”

Nelson echoed her sister.

“Our Mississippi State family has been incredibly generous to us, and it’s just as it was when Daddy first came to the campus in 1953,” Nelson said. “I thank you for loving my daddy.”

Larry Templeton, longtime MSU athletic director from 1987 to 2008, knew Cristil for many years.

“There’s heroes, and there’s legends,” Templeton said. “At Mississippi State, we have heroes by the hundred, but we only have one legend–he taught us to wrap it in maroon and white.”


By Leah Barbour, Video by David Garraway