There’s an old saying in sports that you better be ready when your number is called.

Back in the late 1980s, while still a student, aspiring sports broadcaster Chris Gervino certainly was ready when the University of Missouri asked if he could serve as the public address announcer … for none other than coach Norm Stewart’s Mizzou Tigers basketball home games.

“Of course, that was an incredibly successful time for Mizzou basketball,” Gervino said. “That was the Derrick Chievous era.”

Already having cut his teeth in local radio by then, the role blew the doors open to what’s now a 31-year career as a sports broadcaster, making Gervino a natural fit for induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame with the Class of 2019.

A 1988 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Gervino has been KOMU 8 TV’s sports director since January 2000, anchoring weeknight sportscasts and hosting “Sports Xtra with Chris Gervino” on Sunday nights.

He previously was the Sports Director at KMIZ-TV (1988-1999) and Sports Director at KFRU Radio (1992-2001).

Additionally, Gervino has been a Mizzou football sideline reporter for the Tiger Radio Network since 1992 and was the TV play-by-play broadcaster for Mizzou men’s basketball from 2000 to 2014. He also has handled some play-by-play for the Mizzou baseball team and has been the basketball color analyst for the Tiger Radio Network since 2017.

He credits Joe Castiglione (MSHOF 2015) for much of the success. It was Castiglione, who years before he would become a transformational athletic director of Mizzou Athletics and later at the University of Oklahoma, was in sports marketing and wanted Gervino for the P.A. job.

It seemed like a small step. But it was an important stepping stone.

You see, Gervino earned his trust and, in 1992, Castiglione created – yes, created – the sideline reporter role for Mizzou football games, installing Gervino.

“He has been so good to me, just as a mentor and professional,” Gervino said. “I respect him so much.”

Before then, Gervino had developed a curiosity for sports broadcasting while in his teens at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. There, he joined the school TV crew and broadcast basketball games, with his coverage enhanced because he had become good friends with a future basketball star in his Spanish class,  Oklahoma’s Wayman Tisdale.

Gervino was encouraged by a teacher, JoAnn Bland, to pursue broadcasting at Mizzou. And so he did, building a resume. In college, he caught on with KFRU and was sent to do play-by-play of Mizzou in the 1986 Big 8 Conference baseball tournament in Oklahoma City.

After landing the P.A. job, he worked as a student reporter for KOMU. In the summer of 1988, not long after filling in for vacationing for KOMU Sports Director Dan Lucy (MSHOF 2018), KMIZ hired Gervino.

“I never thought I’d stay in Columbia and here I am 32 years later,” Gervino said.

He cannot thank KMIZ enough for sticking with him for 10 years. In doing so, it set him up for the next big chapter of his life – KOMU 8 TV in Columbia.

Then-KOMU general manager Marty Sidall recruited him, and the hook was enormous – KOMU held the rights to the Mizzou coaches’ shows and basketball telecasts.

“I was not looking to go across the street. We talked for a couple of months actually,” Gervino said.

In covering sports in Columbia, Gervino has covered numerous major events, including some with national implications. Among them was the controversial Fifth Down Game involving Mizzou football and Colorado, the Tyus Edney buzzer-beater (as top-seeded UCLA avoided Mizzou’s upset bid in the second round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament) as well as the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ 1997 flea-kicker.

Agonizing as they were, Gervino looks at those for their historical significance.

“Each one of those teams went on to win national championships,” he said. “They don’t if they lose to Missouri.”

Then again, he covered all of the Gary Pinkel era as Mizzou football became a national contender. Likewise, his coverage includes local high schools and area colleges. He also was the radio play-by-play voice for the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League (2006-2008).

Overall, call it a tremendous career. Most folks don’t get to live their dreams, but Gervino has done just that – and had the support of his wife, Gina.

“I realize how blessed I am to have the opportunity here for 30 years,” Gervino said. “The hours are crazy, no doubt, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.”