Gregory talks MSU sports, upcoming seasons at Rotary

Mississippi State University Assistant Athletic Director for Annual Giving and sports radio announcer Bart Gregory speaks at the West Point Rotary Club meeting Thursday. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

Members of the West Point Rotary Club got an inside look at some of the plans and challenges facing Bulldog Athletics when Mississippi State University Assistant Athletic Director for Annual Giving Bart Gregory spoke at its meeting Thursday.

In addition to his work as an assistant athletic director, Gregory has had a long career as a radio broadcaster with both the SEC Network and Learfield Communications. He has hosted pregame and postgame shows for MSU basketball, baseball and football, and also serves as a play-by-play broadcaster for MSU basketball, baseball, volleyball and soccer on the SEC Network. He has been an assistant athletic director since 2003. He is a MSU alumnus and a native of Nanih Waiya.

He said he tried to make his broadcasts a little different to separate them from the pack.

“We try to make our broadcasts a little more organic, laid back, we talk about fishing lures, talk about turkey hunting and talk about the ballgame,” Gregory said. “It’s amazing now when you’re watching games from around the country, once you get into the broadcast and the TV side, you see more about how many games you watch and how the announcers broadcast things that are going on around the country.”
He said his primary goal as a broadcaster was to describe what was going on in the game, but said it was important to have fun and make sure the show was enjoyable for those listening.

He also discussed MSU teams, including the football team. The Bulldogs will face the University of Louisville in the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 30.

“It’s our 10th consecutive bowl game, and we’re excited about that,” Gregory said. “We’re playing the Louisville team. They’ve got a really dynamic quarterback. They’ve got a really good running back and a really good wide receiver. They’ve had some big wins. They’ve won at Virginia. They’ve won at Wake Forest.”

He said both men’s and women’s basketball have a chance for special seasons this year. However, he also addressed some recent losses faced by the Lady Bulldogs.

“It’s kind of crazy when you start thinking about women's basketball and Vic Schaefer and kind of where they're going,” Gregory said. “They lost to the number one team in the country a couple of weeks ago, and lost this past Sunday to West Virginia, a really good team in the Big 12, so that'll be a tough challenge.”

He also discussed some of the challenges MSU baseball would face in its upcoming season.

“Now there’s a 90 mile per hour fastball kid on every field, and every kid coming out of high school baseball gets it 90 miles per hour,” Gregory said. “You can’t get that. You need to be able to mix pitches more than anything.”

In addition to his comments on MSU teams, Gregory also gave thoughts on the possibility of beer sales at MSU sporting events. The SEC changed its regulations in June, allowing its universities to sell alcohol at sporting events. However, MSU remained dry through the 2019 football season. He emphasized that the decision would remain with MSU President Mark Keenum and Athletic Director John Cohen.

“You have to jump through hoops, and you have to jump through the local politics and get some laws passed at that level,” Gregory said. “From a state standpoint, they probably passed a few things there, but it’s an ever-evolving situation.”

He said Louisiana State University made $2.5 million from alcohol sales in the 2019 football season.

He then discussed the need for the university’s athletic events to increasingly compete with broadcasts.

“We talk about rivals and who we’re competing against,” Gregory said. “Our biggest competition is that 60-inch T.V. and sitting in my home drinking what I want to drink and being near my own restroom,” Gregory said. “The TV product is so good now, and that’s going to be our primary competition.”