Legendary college football announcer Keith Jackson dead at 89
Keith Jackson called college football and other sports for ABC Sports from 1966-2006. (ABC Sports photo)
Keith Jackson, the voice of college football on national television for more than 50 years, has died, according to multiple reports. He was 89.
Known for his homespun Southern witticisms and folksy catchphrases such as “Whoa Nellie!” and “Fummmm-BLE!,” Jackson worked for ABC Sports from 1966-2006. The last game he called was the iconic 2006 Rose Bowl national championship game between Texas and USC.
Jackson had been in failing health for several years, seldom venturing outside Southern California and rarely making public appearances. He briefly joined Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth during the 2017 Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State.
News of Jackson’s passing was met with tributes from throughout the sports world:
Really sad to hear that the iconic Keith Jackson died last night. He was the soundtrack to so many of our Saturdays.
— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) January 13, 2018
Just heard the news that everyone’s favorite CFB broadcaster Keith Jackson passed away last night. Can close my eyes and think of so many of his special calls. Thank you Keith for all the memories and the grace in which you provided them. RIP Keith. [?] [?] #GOAT
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) January 13, 2018
His voice said “college football.”
— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) January 13, 2018
RIP to a broadcasting legend.. No voice will ever sound and feel more like college football than Keith Jackson’s. https://t.co/HzcQwOFAw7
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 13, 2018
From calling @UMichFootball Bo years to the ’97 national championship in @rosebowlgame to @Yankees Chris Chambliss’ walkoff HR in the 1976 ALCS, Keith Jackson was the voice of so many incredible sports moments for me. I’m heartbroken to hear of his passing.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 13, 2018
We are saddened to hear of Keith Jackson’s passing.
An absolute icon, he was the Voice of the Rose Bowl and so many #B1G moments.
His calls, including this one, will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/zbE01ZxSfn
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 13, 2018
Keith Jackson was the voice of college football. Rest In Peace my friend [?] [?] pic.twitter.com/2YcAaRKoan
— Marcus Allen (@MarcusAllenHOF) January 13, 2018
Born Oct. 18, 1928, in Roopville, Ga., Jackson served in the United States Marine Corps before attending college at Washington State on the G.I. Bill. After several years in radio, he joined ABC Sports in 1966.
Though Jackson called the Olympics, Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NFL (he was the first play-by-play voice of ABC’s “Monday Night Football”) over the years, he was best-known for his work in college football. He called 16 Sugar Bowls and 15 Rose Bowls over the years, and regularly worked such rivalry games as Alabama-Tennessee, Ohio State-Michigan, USC-Notre Dame and the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn.
Here’s a short video of some of Jackson’s best-known calls:
Here’s Jackson introducing the 1992 Alabama-Tennessee game:
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