STARKVILLE, Miss. — Learfield announced today that Mississippi State alum and veteran broadcaster Jim Ellis will be retiring from calling football and men’s basketball at the conclusion of the 2017 basketball season. Ellis, an integral member of the Bulldogs’ broadcast team for nearly 40 years, will however continue his role with baseball as “Voice of the Diamond Dogs”.
Ellis, a native of West Point, Miss. and a 1969 graduate of Mississippi State, assumed the play-by-play role for football and men’s basketball at the start of the 2011-12 athletic season following the retirement of legendary voice Jack Cristil. In addition to calling baseball, he had been serving as the weekly call-in show host for all three sports and hosting the weekly coaches’ television shows. In 1998, 2002, 2013 and 2014, Ellis was named “Outstanding Broadcaster in Mississippi” by NSMA (National Sports Media Association) while representing Bulldog Sports Network and Learfield’s Bulldog Sports Properties.
Since 1983, Ellis has been a part of MSU’s basketball broadcast team, including the Bulldogs’ memorable 1996 NCAA Final Four run. He became a radio analyst for MSU football in 1991 before taking over the play-by-play duties in 2011. Ellis was on the call for the memorable 2014 Bulldog football season that saw the program rise to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in history.
“For over 30 years, our Bulldog faithful have listened to Jim’s familiar voice,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “From his days as an analyst to current play-by-play broadcaster, he’s had a front row seat to tell the story of some of the greatest moments in Bulldog history. Jim has been a true professional behind the microphone and represented Mississippi State with class and dignity. We are thankful to his service, and we are glad he will continue to be the voice to many Diamond Dawg baseball memories in the future.”
As Mississippi State Athletics’ multimedia rightsholder, Learfield manages all broadcast operations for the Bulldogs and immediately will spearhead a national search for Ellis’ two-sport replacement. According to Vice President, Broadcast Operations Tom Boman, “Jim, without a doubt, will continue to be part of the fabric of Mississippi State with his legendary voice and life-long affinity to the Bulldogs. He has been a special part of this university, and we thank him for lending his talents to calling so many memorable moments for these programs over the years.”
“I consider it a privilege to have served Mississippi State, a university I love, as a part of the radio sports broadcasts for over 30 years,” Ellis said. “Many thanks to the many coaches, players and administrators who have made it a joy to bring the Maroon and White story to the Bulldog faithful. I also want to thank the many MSU fans who have followed their Bulldogs through the radio broadcasts through the years. Little did I know that when Ron Polk gave me the ringing endorsement in 1979 of ‘he’ll do’ after hearing a tape of high school games that I called that 39 years later I would still be here. A special thanks to former Athletic Director Larry Templeton, who expanded my role on the broadcasts, to Scott Stricklin, who allowed me to be the play-by-play voice of the Bulldogs for the past six years. Thank you to John Cohen, who will allow me to continue broadcasting MSU baseball. None of this would have been possible without Jack Cristil, who allowed a young broadcaster into his booth, befriended him, mentored him and allowed him to work at his side for over 30 years. I look forward to continue broadcasting Bulldog baseball and being a huge fan of all MSU sports teams.”
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. It manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; licensing and trademark consulting; digital platform expertise; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies. Earlier this year, the collegiate marketer also acquired social media agency Think Social.