Keith Jackson, who was widely regarded by several generations as the voice synonymous with college football, has died. He was 89.
Jackson died on Friday night, according to media reports.
The Georgia-born Jackson’s folksy voice and colorful expressions made him a popular play-by-play personality among college football fans.
Jackson was best known for his signature phrase “Whoa, Nellie” as well as “big uglies” in reference to offensive linemen and holding the second syllable in the word “fumble.” He is also credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl as “The Granddaddy of Them All” as well as christening Michigan Stadium with its “Big House” moniker.
Jackson began his broadcasting career on the radio in 1952 by calling a Washington State vs. Stanford game. He went on to call national college football games for ABC Sports from 1966-2006 in addition to providing the voice for Monday Night Football in the NFL in 1970. Jackson also worked with games involving Major League Baseball and the NBA as well as events such as PGA Tour golf, the Olympics, boxing and auto racing.
Although versatile, it was college football for which Jackson was best known.
Jackson initially announced his retirement from college football play-by-play responsibilities after the 1998 season, but stayed on with ABC Sports before walking away in May 2006.
The National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association named him the National Sportscaster of the Year five times, among other honors.
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