- Associated Press - Thursday, February 24, 2011

STARKVILLE, MISS. (AP) - After nearly six decades, Mississippi State radio broadcaster Jack Cristil will retire as the voice of the Bulldogs.

The 85-year-old Cristil announced the decision after LSU beat Mississippi State 84-82 on Wednesday night.

Cristil cited health issues, saying he needed kidney dialysis that required immediate attention. He says Saturday’s game against Tennessee will be his last.

“All good things, as they say in the trade, must come to an end sooner or later,” Cristil said during Wednesday’s postgame show. “Please accept my genuine, my honest and heartfelt thank you for the kindness that you have displayed to me during my 58 years. It has been one genuine pleasure to be associated with such a magnificent university.”

He was hired before the 1953 football season and has been a fixture on Mississippi State radio broadcasts over the past 58 years.

He added basketball play-by-play duties in 1957 and has broadcast more than 2,000 MSU athletic events during his career _ or roughly 60 percent of football games and 55 percent of basketball games in the school’s history. His voice is the only one many Mississippi State fans have ever known in radio broadcasts.

Jim Ellis, who has worked with Cristil during broadcasts since 1979, said Cristil’s professionalism was his greatest asset. Cristil was known for his sometimes biting remarks, especially when things weren’t going well for the Bulldogs.

Ellis recalled some advice Cristil gave when the two first started working together.

“He said ‘We try to give the true picture of what’s happening at the ballgame. We don’t try to sugarcoat it or make it look like what it’s not. We just tell folks what’s happening and then they can make their own decision as to what they think about it,” Ellis said.

Ellis will take over play-by-play duties for the remainder of the men’s basketball season. Mississippi State said a permanent replacement will be selected after the season.

Cristil, a Memphis, Tenn., native, has been named the Mississippi Sportscaster of the Year 21 times and was named the SEC Broadcaster of the Year in 1988. In 1992, he was given the Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award and also inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

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