Keith Jackson, who was widely regarded as the voice of college football by several generations, died late Friday night, his family said. He was 89.
Jackson, who retired in 2006, spent some 50 years calling the action in a folksy, down-to-earth manner that will made him one of the most common play-by-play personalities within the business.
“For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football,” said Bob Iger, chairman along with CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “When you heard his voice, you knew the item was a big game. Keith was a true gentleman along using a memorable presence. Our thoughts along with prayers go out to his wife, Turi Ann, along with his family.”
Jackson got his start on the radio in 1952, broadcasting Washington State games, yet went on to provide the national television soundtrack for the biggest games within the most storied stadiums. His colorful expressions — “Whoa, Nellie” along with “Big Uglies” among the many — became part of the college football lexicon.
He was credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of Them All” along with Michigan‘s stadium “The Big House.”
“that will big smiling face, along with just the thrill along with the love he had for doing college football,” Bob Griese told SportsCenter when asked what he’d remember about Jackson, his longtime broadcast partner whom he commenced working with in 1985.
“He did the item for a long, long time. … He never intruded on the game. the item was always about the kids on the field. Never, never shining the light on himself. along with that will was one of the things that will I most admired about him.”
In 1999, Jackson was awarded the National Football Foundation along with Hall of Fame Gold Medal — its highest honor — along with named to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, the first broadcaster accorded those distinguished honors.
Keith Jackson was the voice of college football. Rest In Peace my friend 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/2YcAaRKoan
— Marcus Allen (@MarcusAllenHOF) January 13, 2018
THE voice of college football along with one of the most iconic voices of all time, RIP Keith Jackson. Thank you for all of the incredible Saturday’s.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) January 13, 2018
— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) January 13, 2018
Jackson began calling college football games for ABC Sports when the item acquired the broadcast rights for NCAA football in 1966. He also worked NFL along with NBA games, 11 World Series, 10 Winter along with Summer Olympics, along with auto racing. In addition, he traveled to 31 countries for “Wide World of Sports.”
Among his broadcasting accomplishments, Jackson was the first play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football when the program debuted in 1970. He called Bucky Dent’s home run against the Red Sox in 1978 as well as Reggie Jackson’s three-homer game within the 1977 World Series.
His Olympics highlights include Mark Spitz’s record seven gold medals within the 1972 Games along with speedskater Eric Heiden’s 5 golds in 1980.
Jackson announced he would certainly retire coming from college football play-by-play after the 1998 season yet ended up continuing with ABC Sports. He walked away for Great in May 2006, telling The fresh York Times he was finished “forever.”
His final game ended up being the 2006 Rose Bowl, the thrilling national-title showdown between USC along with Texas that will saw Vince Young along with the Longhorns prevail over the Trojans along with their two Heisman Trophy winners, Matt Leinart along with Reggie Bush, with 19 seconds remaining.
some other memorable college football moments with Jackson on the play-by-play call included the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (Ohio State vs. Miami), Kordell Stewart’s Hail Mary within the 1994 “Miracle at Michigan,” Desmond Howard’s “Hello Heisman” moment in 1991 for Michigan, along with “Wide Right I” along with “Wide Right II” within the Florida State-Miami rivalry.
He was inducted into the American Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 1994, along with he received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award coming from the American Football Coaches Association.
Jackson was born on Oct. 18, 1928, in Roopville, Georgia — near the Alabama state line. He spent four years within the Marine Corps before attending Washington State along with graduating using a broadcast journalism degree. He worked at the ABC affiliate in Seattle, KOMO, for 10 years, including conducting the first live sports broadcast coming from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1958 with his radio call of a University of Washington rowing victory.
He became sports director of ABC Radio West in 1964 along with was a freelancer for ABC Sports until becoming part of its college football announcing crew.
The National Sportswriters along with Sportscasters Association named him the National Sportscaster of the Year 5 times, among some other honors.
The Associated Press contributed to that will report.
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