Sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Jackson began calling college football games for ABC Sports when it acquired the broadcast rights for NCAA football in 1966. Jackson was credited for dubbing the Rose Bowl "The Grandaddy of them All" and Michigan's stadium "The Big House".

Broyles said he wasn't upset about ABC's decision, because he was beginning to grow tired of traveling every week, leaving Thursday and not getting home until Sunday, and had been contemplating leaving the broadcast in another year.

The legendary broadcaster called some of the biggest college games in history and his signature "Whoa Nellie" became a world wide catch phrase. Just name a classic game and it seemed like Keith Jackson was calling that game.

If you were born into a specific generation of sports fans, there was no voice more omnipresent and entertaining, certainly in college football, than that of Keith Jackson. Keith was a true gentleman and a memorable presence.

Throwback: 1970 NY Jets vs. Cleveland Browns game. ABC producer Don Ohlmeyer liked Broyles' work and asked him back for the Auburn-Texas Gator Bowl, when he again was teamed with Schenkel.

During the 2004 Rose Bowl telecast, he referenced USC having just won the "human championship", while the upcoming, BCS-empowered Sugar Bowl would decide only "the computer version". He said that on-air mistakes had started to creep up on him so it was time to stop.

Broyles said Jackson's long-term association with college football has been a key for the game's growth on television.

At other times, he expressed frustration about his close association with "Whoa, Nellie!" and said his broadcast partner, former professional quarterback Bob Griese, liked the expression more.

He famously insisted his play-by-play never was the story, even after four decades in America's living room, Jackson always deferring to what happened on the field. Never, never shining the light on himself.

Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson an alum of Washington State passed away at the age of 89 on Jan. 12 2018
Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson an alum of Washington State passed away at the age of 89 on Jan. 12 2018

"The older I got", Jackson added, "the more willing I was to go into the Southern vernacular, because some of it's amusing".

College Football 24/7 will have more on Jackson's passing soon.

The sports community lost a broadcasting legend on January 12 when Keith Jackson passed away at the age of 89. Every step of the way, he shared his knowledge and his friendship. "But it's nearly as if the good Lord created that voice, which sounds like what red clay ought to sound like if it could talk, to be the flawless voice for college football", Davis told the AP.

"I want to be remembered as a good ol' boy who married a gorgeous lady and we had a great life together", Jackson told Plaschke in 2015.

Jackson was part of a fading generation of iconic baby boomer voices, following a line of departed stars that most recently includes Dick Enberg, who died last month. "And the older I got the more willing I was to go back into the Southern vernacular because some of it's amusing", Jackson said. Tributes have been pouring in on social media in his honor.

Jackson will always be my favorite broadcaster. Thank you Keith for all the memories and the grace in which you provided them.

"May his family find some comfort in knowing how much joy he brought us for so many years and that his legacy endures", Howard said. But after the first year in the booth, Arledge replaced Jackson with Frank Gifford, who left CBS to join the MNF team.

Jackson is survived by Turi Ann, his wife of 63 years. Then he met Turi Ann Johnson "under the willow trees of the old golf course", which her parents owned, and fell in love with her - about the same time he fell in love with broadcasting.

Funeral arrangements for Jackson have not yet been announced.

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