Crist was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on July 24, 1956, to Charles Joseph Crist, Sr., an American physician of Greek Cypriot descent, and Nancy (née Lee), of Scots-Irish descent. His family name is adapted from the original Greek name “Christodoulou“. Crist moved toSt. Petersburg, Florida, as a child, where he attended Riviera Middle School and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1974. He is the second of four children and has three sisters: Margaret Crist Wood, Elizabeth Crist Hyden, and Catherine Crist Kennedy. He attendedWake Forest University for two years, where he played quarterback for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team. Crist earned his undergraduate degree from Florida State University where he was elected Vice President of the student body and became a member of thePi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He received his J.D. from Samford University Cumberland School of Law.