Keith Jackson Always Found the Words

"For generations of fans, Keith was college football", Iger said. It is Jackson that is largely credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl "The Granddaddy of Them All".

Jackson, forever remembered for his signature "Whoa, Nellie" call, died Friday night surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Jackson leaves behind his wife Turi Ann, three grown children (Melanie, Lindsey, Christopher), and three grandchildren (Ian, Holly, Spencer). By the time Jackson was old enough to speak - I suspect his first word was "Whoa", and the second was "Nellie" - the Rose Bowl was entrenched in American sports lore.

Although tied to college football, Jackson called a myriad of events including the 1964 Republican National Convention in 1964 with Walter Kronkite.

Jackson retired after the 2006 Rose Bowl.

If Jackson tried to break into the business today, he'd probably be told to take voice lessons so he could sound more like he came from nowhere. A farm boy from Georgia, Jackson enlisted in the Marines and attended Washington State University on the G.I. Bill graduating from WSU in 1954 with a degree in speech communications. Beyond college football, he worked college and pro basketball games, Major League Baseball, auto racing, Summer and Winter Olympics and, in 1970, was the first play-by-play announcer for NFL's "Monday Night Football" on ABC.

Jackson, whose career spanned nearly 60 years in broadcasting, covered a wide variety of sports.


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.

Less than a month after losing fellow broadcasting icon Dick Enberg, the airwaves have lost another legend as Keith Jackson passed away.

At the annual Sports Star of the Year award in Seattle, the Keith Jackson Award is now given at the to a member of the media for excellence in communicating the sports stories of Washington state.

Jackson tried to retire twice, at the end of contracts following the 1986 and 1998 seasons.

Arledge knew that Jackson was a college football fan and he offered him the lead broadcast voice of the ABC College Football Game of the Week.

Broyles' first ABC broadcast wasn't with Jackson. The stadium's broadcasting TV and radio booths were renamed "The Keith Jackson Broadcast Center" in 2005. It was always about the kids on the field. Thank you Keith for all the memories and the grace in which you provided them, ' Herbstreit wrote.

Jackson was ideal for the casual fan and while he was the first voice of ABC Monday Night Football with Don Meredith and Howard Cosell it was not his style. He was also inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1995, winning its National Sportscaster of the Year award five times in a row. "For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit", McIlroy said.

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