Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at 89, ESPN reports

Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at 89, ESPN reports

ESPN announced the news Saturday morning after confirmation from Jackson's family.

"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football", said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Besides college football, Jackson also covered other sports games in the National Basketball Association, golf, MLB, NFL and the Olympics.

But he was best known for ranging the collegiate football map, from Ann Arbor to Tuscaloosa, from Columbus to Happy Valley, the home of Penn State. But after the first year in the booth, Arledge replaced Jackson with Frank Gifford, who left CBS to join the MNF team.

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The Georgia-born Jackson's folksy voice and colorful expressions made him a popular play-by-play personality among college football fans. "You're Mr. College Football'".

And he was there for all the big games from decade to decade.

The play-by-play man narrated a range of sports for ABC for more than 40 years, starting in 1966. "I'll probably still go out and watch a Division III game and get a kick out of it". "You let it seep into you".

He was more partial to the lingo of his native rural South. "Whoa, Nellie" and Jackson were synonymous, but Jackson was never sure why. It was always about the kids on the field. "I don't want to die in a stadium parking lot", he told The New York Times.

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And, of course, there was "Whoa, Nellie!", his signature phrase. He's also credited with giving the "Granddaddy of Them All" nickname to the Rose Bowl. "And if you make it interesting enough, they may not know what you just said, but they'll look it up, '" Jackson said in the 2013 interview.

Jackson began his broadcasting career on the radio in 1952 by calling a Washington State vs. Stanford game.

Jackson's work on ABC's Wide World of Sports took him to 31 countries and included 10 Olympics, including covering two of the greatest gold medal winners in the history of the Olympic Games.

Though initially set to retire after the 1998 season, Jackson returned the following year and stayed on with ABC Sports through the 2006 Rose Bowl.

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