Keith Jackson, ABC College Football Broadcaster, Dead at 89

Keith Jackson, ABC College Football Broadcaster, Dead at 89

Keith Jackson, ABC College Football Broadcaster, Dead at 89

Keith Jackson, the voice of college football, passed away last night at the age of 89.

One of the greaest sports voices has died. No other details were provided.

In addition to college football, Jackson also called the NFL, NBA, MLB, auto racing, golf and college basketball.

Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for more than a half-century, has died. But after the first year in the booth, Arledge replaced Jackson with Frank Gifford, who left CBS to join the MNF team. Jackson learned of his firing in a newspaper article and was "furious", wrote Arledge, who admitted that he had avoided telling Jackson face-to-face.

Every college football announcer that I have ever worked with, some on-air, some in pregame rehearsals would lapse into their best Jackson imitation. He was withering in his analysis of college football's endless money suck - at his alma mater, too - and warned of "all kinds of cracks and crevices" threatening to swallow up the sport. "You're Mr. College Football'".

He attempted to retire at the end of the 1998 season, citing his nearing 70th birthday.

The ABC broadcaster announced an impressive 16 Sugar Bowls and 15 Rose Bowls during his long and storied career, during which his catchphrases like "Whoa, Nellie!" and "Hold the phone!" became familiar in households across America.

By the following autumn, though, he'd reconsidered and returned for several more seasons of broadcasting.

When: Jan. 3, 2003 What: 2003 Fiesta Bowl between No. 1 Miami and No. 2 Ohio State What: Jackson seamlessly transitioned from celebration to the recognition of a defensive holding call in the first overtime of the BCS championship game between Miami and Ohio State, all part of the 31-24 double-overtime thriller. The iconic broadcaster called college football games from 1966 until his retirement in 2006. His down-home, baritone delivery was punctuated by such memorable phrases as "big uglies" (large linemen), "fum-blllllllllllllllle!" and his best known exclamation, "Whoa, Nelly!"

But the phrase most associated with Jackson is one even he seemed a bit baffled by.

"That big smiling face, and just the thrill and the love he had for doing college football", Griese said on ESPN's "SportsCenter".

To many, Keith Jackson was one of the voices of their childhood and I am no different. Jackson said he did not know why the exclamation was so closely tied to him. "I don't know how that thing got hung on me".

Keith Max Jackson was born on October 18, 1928, in the western Georgia town of Roopville, and he grew up nearby, just outside Carrollton.

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