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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Memorial held for Cristil in Humphrey Coliseum

Braden Benson
Jack Cristil Memorial

A memorial service celebrating the life of Jacob S. “Jack” Cristil was held at the Humphrey Coliseum on Sept. 11. Those who gathered to remember Jack were greeted by Mississippi State University Alumni Delegates with programs and pin-on buttons decorated with the image of a broadcast microphone, commemorating the way Jack was known by most people.
A spotlight was trained on the banner which read, “Jack Cristil, 1953-2011, Voice of the Bulldogs.” Another light shone upon the seat where Jack would perch when he announced basketball games. The coliseum was filled with old and new Bulldogs alike, including school mascot Bully, in memoriam of Jack. 
In attendance was Mississippi State University alumnus Rob Porter, class of 1960. Porter reminisced about the way Jack made radio broadcast feel like being at the real game. “No one could call a game like he could. It was one-of-a-kind, an experience,” he said.
The service began with Scott Stricklin, who shared his condolences with the Cristil family, as well as with Ole Miss, noting the university also lost an iconic sports announcer this week. 
Scott Stricklin, Athletic Director at MSU, was the Master of Ceremonies and introduced each distinguished speaker.
John Cohen, MSU Head Baseball Coach , led the invocation for the service, paying tribute to the important role of Jack Cristil in his life. He looked back as a young boy listening to Cristil’s announcements, calling his voice a “cadenced baritone.” He recalled his father telling him about what it meant to be the Voice of the Bulldogs. “Players play, coaches coach. And the announcer paints a picture with his words,” he said.
MSU President Mark Keenum described Jack Cristil’s influence. 
Keenum highlighted the number of people who counted Jack a friend, even though many had never met him.
He also recalled with reverent memory when Jack led the investiture of Keenum’s beginning as the university’s president. “When I had been vested with all the trappings of the presidency, to have Jack Cristil come out on stage and say, ‘Let’s wrap this investiture in Maroon and White,’ that was probably one of the proudest days of my life,” he said.  
Keenum listed many of the honors Cristil received because of his service. Jack Cristil won many awards related to his work in radio and broadcast, he received honors from state legislatures, the Alumni Association and received an honorary doctorate, one of the highest honors at Mississippi State University.

Jim Ellis, current MSU Sports Broadcaster, offered condolences to the Cristil family, saying a positive memorial service was something  Jack Cristil would have wanted. Ellis spoke of Jack’s greatest goal for every game he announced.

“He wanted the game to be the centerpiece of what he was doing. He let the game tell the story,” he said.

Ellis discussed Jack’s patriotism, alluding to his veteran service during World War II and paying tribute to the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.

“He loved his country. I think it’s somewhat appropriate that on the day when this country suffered a great loss and great tragedy, that we honor and do this memorial,” he said.

Other esteemed speakers at the service included Kermit Davis, former MSU basketball player, Rockey Felker, MSU assistant football coach and former head coach and player, Sid Salter, author of the biography of Jack Cristil, Greg Carter, former MSU basketball player and Larry Templeton, former MSU athletic director.

Michael Brown, MSU professor of music, contributed to the memorial service with a performance of “My Way.”

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests any memorial gifts be directed to the MSU Foundation for the Jack Cristil Scholarship in Journalism or the Jack and Mavis Cristil Scholarship Fund.

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Memorial held for Cristil in Humphrey Coliseum