Keith Jackson, whose folksy manner and colorful expressions made him an icon in college football broadcasting and sports journalism, died Friday night. He was 89.
The New York Daily News reported Jackson's death Saturday morning, saying he died with his family by his side.
Jackson covered some of the top events in the NFL, MLB, NBA and the Olympics during his 54-year career. But he is best remembered for his work covering NCAA football, including his role as ABC's lead announcer on NCAA telecasts from the mid-1960s through his retirement in 2006.
Jackson's warm Georgia drawl, folksy expressions such as "Whoa, Nellie" and exaggerated calls such as "Fum-BLE!" endeared him to football fans everywhere. He also coined many popular phrases that live on in college football. He dubbed Michigan's home stadium "The Big House" and referred to the Rose Bowl as the "Granddaddy of them all."
However, Jackson showed his versatility by calling many other sports. He served as the first play-by-play broadcaster on "Monday Night Football" in 1970. As a baseball announcer, he called the World Series, league championship and All-Star Games in the 1970s and ’80s. He also worked a four-year stint as ABC's lead NBA announcer with Bill Russell, and covered the Olympic Games for ABC in the 1970s and ’80s. In addition, he served as a reporter on the Wide World of Sports.
Jackson is a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, and he won its National Sportscaster of the Year five successive times.
Former colleagues, athletes, reporters and sports fans remembered Jackson on social media Saturday morning.
There was nothing, and I mean nothing, I liked more than coming home from my saturday AM youth football games and watching college football with Keith Jackson announcing. I will always remember it. He was college football. #RIP— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) 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
'4th and 5' — Keith Jackson's final call
(via trivinity/YouTube) pic.twitter.com/7bgGJrdkao
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