The proceeds of the biography of legendary Mississippi State University sports announcer Jack Cristil have been formally donated to the university to fund the Jack Cristil Endowed Scholarship in the university’s communication department.
The donation was formalized in a $167,779 gift agreement executed Dec. 2 between author Sid Salter and the MSU Foundation. Beginning in 2011, the hardcover version sold 10,500 copies. In 2015, a revised edition of the book was written and published and is now available in bookstores statewide.
“MSU President Mark Keenum, Athletics Director Scott Stricklin and I approached Jack Cristil about a commemorative book shortly after his retirement announcement in 2011, and Jack really wasn’t interested until we told him the proceeds would benefit MSU students pursuing careers in journalism and broadcasting,” said Salter. “Jack was pleased to have his name associated with the academic side of the university. This donation represents a promise kept to Jack Cristil, whose friendship I will always treasure.”
In addition to Cristil, Keenum and Stricklin, Salter said MSU Vice President for Development and Alumni John Rush and MSU Libraries Dean Frances Coleman were heavily involved with the successful book project along with MSU alumnus John Grisham, who wrote the book’s foreword.
Recently released by Jackson-based University Press of Mississippi, the revised 253-page, limited-edition paperback contains new material covering Cristil’s 2014 death and memorial service, along with additional post-retirement and memorial photographs. Salter said a portion of the ongoing proceeds from the $25-per-copy UPM second edition “also will add to the scholarship fund.”
According to author Salter, the revised edition “seeks to finish the story” of the Southeastern Conference icon who was the Voice of Bulldog athletics for nearly six decades.
John Forde, head of the MSU Department of Communication, said, “We appreciate Sid’s work on his excellent book to develop the Jack Cristil Endowed Scholarship. These awards will benefit our majors for years to come and encourage them to strive for excellence.”
A Memphis, Tennessee, native and longtime Tupelo resident, Cristil died in 2014 at age 88 of complications from kidney disease and cancer. His life story told by Salter, a veteran Mississippi journalist, originally was released in 2011 by Pediment Publishing of Vancouver, Washington.
Cristil’s 58-year association with MSU made him the second-longest tenured college radio play-by-play announcer in the nation. He had called 636 football games — or approximately 60 percent of all football games played in school history. As men’s basketball play-by-play voice, he was in his 54th season — or nearly 55 percent of all those MSU games.
In all, Cristil shared with Bulldog fans across the Magnolia State and around the world more than 1,500 collegiate contests.
Salter is an MSU alumnus who now serves as the 137-year-old land-grant institution’s chief communications officer and director of public affairs. A Philadelphia native, he has been a statewide syndicated political columnist for more than 30 years.
In addition to bookstores across Mississippi, the new edition may be purchased from the publisher at upress.state.ms.us/about/ordering.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.