For Starkville Daily News
JACKSON - In a welcome diversion for lawmakers from the ongoing redistricting and budget battles, the Mississippi Legislature paused to honor longtime Mississippi State University radio announcer Jack Cristil of Tupelo on Wednesday with “Jack Cristil Day in Mississippi” festivities at the Capitol.
Addressing the House of Representatives, Cristil said: “This is awesome. I’m so completely overwhelmed. To be recognized here today is an honor that I deeply cherish.
“I share this recognition with an untold number of ladies and gentlemen on the campus of Mississippi State University who have helped make this possible.
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that you touch a lot of lives that you know about, but you also touch a lot of lives that you don’t know about as well. From the depths of my heart, I thank you.
“Now, I think it’s appropriate to say that ‘you can wrap this one in Maroon and White!,” Cristil said to a roar of applause.
The event was led by state Sen. Gary Jackson, R-French Camp and Sen. Perry Lee, R-Mendenhall in the Senate and by state Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, and Rep. Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs, in the House.
Cristil was accompanied to the Capitol by MSU President Mark Keenum, MSU Athletic Director Scott Stricklin, Associate Athletic Director Straton Karatassos and longtime friend Waurine Hefflin of Tupelo.
Cristil, 85, announced his retirement earlier this month after broadcasting MSU football for 58 seasons and Bulldog basketball for 54 seasons.
The legendary broadcaster called 636 football games and about 1,500 MSU contests overall. Cristil is a recipient of the Chris Schenkel Award for broadcasting, the Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Outstanding Broadcaster of the Year in Mississippi 21 times and is the only non athlete or coach ever elected to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
The House and Senate passed resolutions honoring Cristil earlier the month, but the ceremonies gave Cristil a chance to address both chambers and to receive standing ovations from the lawmakers and the legislative galleries.