CATEGORY: FOC College Football
HED:MSU legend Bob Hartley dies
By Parrish Alford
Bob Hartley, Mississippi State University's beloved athletic historian and former sports information director, died in his sleep at his Starkville home Tuesday evening. He was 77.
Hartley was a Mississippi State employee for 51 years. He retired from full-time work in 1985 but maintained a consultant's role and wrote columns for "The Dawgs' Bite," a newspaper devoted to Mississippi State athletics.
"Larry (Templeton, MSU athletic director) mentioned that Bob had not been feeling up to par for the past two or three days. But at our stage of the game you don't know what par is," said MSU football and basketball broadcaster Jack Cristil, a Tupelo resident.
"I was with Bob two weeks ago Friday at the College Football Hall of Fame. He saw some of his old friends and acquaintances and really enjoyed it. Wherever Bob went people knew him and appreciated what he had contributed to college athletics for over half a century."
Cristil credited Hartley for helping his broadcast career get started when he was hired in 1953 and said his family maintained a relationship with Hartley's over the years.
Hartley joined the MSU athletic staff as SID on Aug. 15, 1946, and served in that position for 32 years. He was later promoted to assistant athletic director for media relations before retiring in 1985.
He had triple bypass heart surgery in November of 1979.
Prior to joining the MSU staff, Hartley worked as assistant sports editor for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, sports editor of The Meridian Star and was a veteran of the Army-Air Force's Air Transport Command.
"The main thing about him was his smile," said Langston Rogers, assistant athletic director for sports information at Ole Miss. "He was such a people person and loved Mississippi State."
University of Southern Mississippi Sports Information Director Regiel Napier worked with Hartley first as a sports writer and sports editor, then as a TV sports anchor and later as an SID.
"As long as I've been in this business, Bob Hartley has been a nationally-known figure in the sports information field," Napier said. "I always found him to be extremely gracious, very efficient and to have great knowledge in what he was doing."
As assistant athletic director for media and public relations, Mike Nemeth is the third SID at MSU since Hartley's retirement. Wednesday he remembered Hartley helping him get started in Starkville.
"He was one of the truly nice people in college athletics," Nemeth said. "There was not anything he wouldn't do for you, and sometimes you didn't even have to ask. He just knew how to help."