From Staff Reports
Texas A&M University-Commerce play-by-play announcer Charlie Chitwood has been named the winner of the Jake Trussell Award for the Lone Star Conference’s Sportscaster of the Year, as announced Tuesday at the LSC’s annual football media day.
A Jefferson resident, Chitwood is also the sports columnist for the Jimplecute.
Chitwood was the play-by-play voice of the Lions for the 2017 football National Championship, as well as a basketball playoff run not seen in Commerce for 13 years. He recently completed his sixth season as the play-by-play broadcaster for A&M-Commerce, joining 88.9 KETR-FM and the Lion Sports Network in 2012.
Chitwood called all 15 Lion football games in the National Championship season, including the weather-delayed opener at North Alabama and three consecutive playoff road games in Minnesota, Washington, and a return to Minnesota.
Chitwood is also a regular fixture in the press box at W.F. Lockett Stadium.
“Covering the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs is a touchstone for me and has kept ink circulating in my blood since I left the newsroom in Paris to move here in 1993,” Chitwood said.
The Trussell Award and the 2017 season remain important to Chitwood.
“I don’t know about ‘prominent’ – I’ve never heard of anyone holding up a game because the radio guy wasn’t there – but it’s a real privilege to be considered a part of the teams and university family in Commerce,” Chitwood said. “That ‘Ol’ ET’ crowd up there is special – they’ll talk about last-year’s national championship run forever – just like they have about their NAIA ‘Natty’ in 1972.”
“I’ve had it pointed out to me by some of my colleagues that there are now three active college football play-by-play guys in Texas with National Championships rings,” a smiling Chitwood recalled. “Jon Wallin at Mary Hardin-Baylor (NCAA Division III) got his ring two years ago and of course Craig Way down at UT picked up his “Natty” back in 2005 with Vince Young. It’s crazy to be in such a small circle.”
Following the National Championship win in Kansas City, Chitwood was in Laredo to broadcast the Lions’ men’s basketball game three days later. He continued broadcasting every Lion basketball game for the rest of the season. Both the women’s and men’s teams advanced to the Lone Star Conference Tournament semifinals, and the men’s team advanced to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional semifinals with their first NCAA Tournament win since 2005.
Chitwood has previously won awards from the Texas Association of Broadcasters, and was recipient of the inaugural American Southwest Conference Outstanding Media Service Award in 2003 while serving as the play-by-play broadcaster for East Texas Baptist.
Chitwood is the first winner of the Trussell Award from A&M-Commerce since Scott Garner won the award in 2002. Other winners from A&M-Commerce and KETR-FM include John Hendry in 1992, Bill Powers in 1989, John Mark Dempsey and Dean Belcher in 1981, and Phil Ebensberger in 1976. Bill Rust of KGVL in Greenville was the 1972 winner. Chitwood is the eighth winner to represent the Lions.
Chitwood is slated to broadcast the play-by-play action of the Lions’ 11 regular season games this season on the Lion Sports Network and 88.9 KETR-FM.
Chitwood is also looking forward to his weekly column in the Jimplecute.
“While most of my column will be Jefferson-centric, there are enough college sports fans around here to make a for a good conversation about Big 12 and SEC action,” Chitwood said. “It’ll be easier to keep up with our former student/athletes as well – there’s a good handful of them on collegiate rosters right now and I doubt that’s going to end anytime soon.”
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