Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at 89

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It was just another instance of Keith Jackson being the voice every college football fan had in his ear. His last game called was the thrilling 2006 Rose Bowl between USC and Texas - a fitting end, considering Jackson coined the Rose Bowl nickname, "The Granddaddy of Them All".

Jackson died surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Survivors include his wife, Turi Ann Johnsen and children Melanie Ann, Lindsey and Christopher and grandchildren. He called 15 Rose Bowls and 16 Sugar Bowls. Jackson traveled to 31 different countries during his time with the award-winning anthology show, covering popular and obscure sports.

Jackson joined the ABC radio network in 1965, getting his big break there when someone was needed to call a parachute-jumping segment for "Wide World of Sports" in 1968.

Arledge then made Jackson the lead announcer for NCAA football, replacing Chris Schenkel, and Jackson reigned over college game days from 1972 to 2006.

Jackson graduated from WSU in 1954 and had a luxurious career, calling 15 Rose Bowls, 10 Olympics, MLB playoffs, the National Basketball Association and Monday Night Football; among many other events.

Jackson got his start in broadcasting in 1952 at Washington State games.

Jackson worked at 10 Summer and Winter Olympics and on "ABC's Wide World of Sports".


His performance over the years, which also included Major League Baseball and NBA games, the Olympics and other sports in addition to his role as a college football stalwart, earned him entrance into the American Sportscasters Association and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Halls of Fame.

The greatest broadcasters have the knack for marrying their narration to the moment without stepping all over it, and this was Jackson's special gift.

"Keith has become the voice of college football and has brought so much credibility and acceptance to college football at a time when we were really in a competitive race for viewers with pro football and other sports", Broyles said. The ABC Sports broadcasting legend was 89. "Be that guy that's ready to go, '" said KIRO 7 anchor Steve Raible, who received the Keith Jackson Award in 2015.

Jackson initially retired from broadcasting after calling Tennessee's BCS Championship win over Florida State in January 1999.

"Heavens, no, I was in his field and I was a neophyte in that field", Broyles said.

"Whoa Nellie!", was the catch phrase for the man who was considered to be the voice of college football. He said: "I'm a goofy old goat".

Rest in peace, Keith Jackson, and thanks for all of the memories.

In addition to college football, Jackson was the first play-by-play anchor for Monday Night Football in 1970. When Jackson was inducted into the American Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1995, Broyles was his presenter at the banquet.

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