“Whoa, Nellie!” Once of college football’s most iconic broadcasters died January 12 at the age of 89.
Keith Jackson died less than a month after another iconic broadcaster – Dick Enberg. NO official cause of death has been given, only that Jackson died in southern California.
While best known for his college football broadcasts, Jackson also covered pro football, professional basketball, major league baseball’s World Series, and the Olympics while working for ABC Sports. After calling games for over 50 years, Jackson called his final game in 2006 at the Rose Bowl – a national championship game where Texas took the crown after upsetting favoured Southern California.
Long time broadcaster Brent Musburger spoke on Jackson saying, “he was one of our giants He could do anything and loved doing it.”
Born Keith Max Jackson in the rural west Georgia town of Roopville on October 18, 1928, he easily included the folksy country expressions of his childhood making his broadcasts unique and readily recognizable. His most well known expression of “Whoa, Nellie” he learned from his great grandfather.
Prior to becoming a sports broadcaster, Jackson enlisted at the age of 16 and spent four years in the United States Marine Corps. He called his first game as an undergraduate at Washington University in 1952.
Keith Jackson is a member of the Sports Broadcasting and the National Sports Media Association Halls of Fame. He is also a member of the American Sportscasters Association.
Coining the phrase Granddaddy of them all – he called more Rose Bowl games than any other broadcaster with 15. The Rose Bowl has named their broadcast booths after Jackson and has been inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Over the course of his career Keith Jackson has worked with Jackie Robinson, Frank Broyles, Bud Wilkinson, Bill Russell, Dick Vitale, Dan Fouts, Bob Griese, Ara Parseghian, Howard Cossell, Don Meredith, and Al Michaels.
He is survived by his wife of over 60 years Gertrude Ann (Turi Ann), children – Melanie Ann, Lindsey and Christopher -, and three grandchildren.