Mississippi State Univ. radio play-by-play broadcaster Jack Cristil last night announced he will retire following Saturday’s MSU-Tennessee men’s basketball game. Cristil has called football and basketball games for the school for 58 years. Analyst Jim Ellis will take over Cristil's duties for the rest of the basketball season. An announcement on a permanent replacement will come at a later date (MSU). In Jackson, Veazey & Marcello in a front-page piece report the 85-year-old Cristil "as part of a two-minute monologue" at the conclusion of last night's game against LSU "cited a 'deteriorating health situation' that will require kidney dialysis." Cristil called MSU AD Scott Stricklin on Monday "to tell him of his plans" (Jackson CLARION-LEDGER, 2/24).
HELP ME HELP YOU: ESPN.com's John Clayton noted NFL GMs and scouts "groused for years about thoughts of televising the scouting combine workouts," but "televising the combine has prompted more players to work out, making the jobs easier for scouts not having to fly to schools to get 40 times." As late as '03, 98 of the 307 invited players "didn't work out." But the "influence of television has cut that number of non-workouts to between 45 and 59 in years since then." The competitive aspect of the running and jumping drills "has turned the combine into one of the most watched track meets on television" (ESPN.com, 2/23).
WELCOME BACK: Comcast SportsNet Chicago has hired Basketball HOFer Scottie Pippen as a Bulls game analyst. Pippen will join Neil Funk and Stacey King as an additional game analyst for the network's coverage of Bulls-Magic on March 4. He also will handle game analyst duties for every Bulls playoff telecast on CSN Chicago beginning in mid-April (CSN Chicago).
HE'S ALL BUSINESS: ESPN.com's Laura Lane noted Golf Channel's "Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf" in its second season "has steered away from featuring celebrities going head-to-head, like in its first season, and is focusing more on the business side of Trump's running his 12 golf courses, with a 13th on the way in Scotland." Trump: "People seem to like that formula even better. I hope (viewers) get some knowledge in business, and the golf business in particular. I only do really high-end and I think I have 12 of the best courses in the world. I think it's a way of showcasing those courses in addition to everything else" (ESPN.com, 2/23).