Bart Gregory fully admits it takes quite a bit to surprise him.
However, that task was accomplished when he walked into a meeting and was told he would be the next radio color commentator for Mississippi State menâ€™s basketball.
â€śI was shocked when they told me,â€ť Gregory said. â€śI didnâ€™t know what to say and anybody that knows thatâ€™s a big deal.â€ť
Gregory has been behind the microphone for Mississippi State women's basketball radio broadcasts on Learfield Sports since 2000 and been the backup play-by-play broadcaster of MSU baseball when the men's basketball team was on the road.
"Bart has done a great job for the network the last two years in every role he has assumed," Don Williams, general manager for Bulldog Sports Properties, said in a statement. "His enthusiasm and passion for all sports at Mississippi State is evident in his work. We hope to be able to add some innovative things to the broadcast this year taking advantage of Bart's talents. He and Jim will make a great team."
Gregory, a Nanih Waiya native and 1999 graduate of MSU, was on the Road Dawgs tour today with a stop at Jack Cristilâ€™s house where he got to inform the MSU Hall of Famer of the news.
Gregory told The Starkville Daily News in a text message that he wanted to be the first person to tell his broadcast idol.
â€śI know I'm supposed to give cliche' quotes but I'm just so freaking stoked about this,â€ť Gregory said. â€śFor a kid that grew up 40 miles from the campus as a State guy, this is a mind-blowing experience.â€ť
Gregory will join the play-by-play broadcaster Jim Ellis in the two-man booth starting next season while continuing doing the Cellular South pre-game show before MSU football games with recently-named football color commentator Matt Wyatt.
â€śBart did a great job calling play-by-play for our womenâ€™s team, and Iâ€™m looking forward to having him join Jim Ellis to broadcast our games,â€ť Mississippi State menâ€™s basketball head coach Rick Stansbury said. â€śBoth are very professional and will be great working together.â€ť
The transition should be seamless for Ellis and Gregory as the two shared an office in what is now the Mississippi State media room and teamed for the womenâ€™s basketball broadcasts when Gregory was hired by Learfield.
â€śJim is the reason Iâ€™m at MSU and Jack once told me Iâ€™d learn more from Jim than I ever would from him,â€ť Gregory said. â€śJim Ellis is a first-class individual and been a special person to me throughout my time here.â€ť
This move follows the retirement of Cristil back in March and a month later April, it was announced that Wyatt will join Ellis and sideline reporter John Correro as the analyst for football.
"Jim and Bart will certainly work will together," Wyatt said. "At times Bart will get frustrated with the officials and as a listener I look forward to hearing his emotional involvement in the broadcast."
Mississippi State will replace Gregory on the women's basketball broadcasts with WFCA sports director Jason Crowder. Crowder, who will continue his duties at WFCA, was also a 2003 graduate of Mississippi State University and subbed in for Gregory for two games last year.
"Bart did a fantastic job calling the games and I hope the fans don't notice the difference in the broadcast," Crowder said. "Being given the chance to work with Mississippi State and Learfield Sports is a dream come true and words can't describe how excited I am."
Crowder earned his broadcast journalism degree from MSU in 2003. For the past 10 years, heâ€™s been the sports director at MSUâ€™s flagship radio station, WFCA.
Since 2009, Crowder has been the play-by-play announcer for East Mississippi Community College, while also filling in for Mississippi State doing play-by-play for baseball, softball and womenâ€™s basketball the past two seasons.
â€śWe are excited Jason will be joining the Mississippi State Radio Network,â€ť MSU womenâ€™s basketball head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said. â€śHe has been a part of the Bulldog family for many years and has done a tremendous job when broadcasting games and promoting all of our sports. Jason has a passion for his work and we look forward to working with him this season.â€ť