Legendary Sportscaster Keith Jackson Passes Away at 89


Keith Jackson, synonymous with so numerous greatest moments in college football and sports history over the past 50 years, died late Friday night according to family at the age of 89.

Growing up in the 1980's and 1990's as a college football fan you got to know the voice of Keith Jackson all too well.

The folksy broadcaster, who was born in Roopville, Georgia, called his last game for ABC Sports in 2006, the Rose Bowl, or as Jackson originally termed, "The Granddaddy of them all".

Jackson's family said that he died late on Friday night.

Jackson is survived by his wife, Turi Ann, three children, Melanie, Lindsay, and Christopher, and three grandchildren.

The first time I remember hearing Jackson on the call for a game was the 1991 game between Ohio State and MI that clinched the Heisman Trophy for Michigan's Desmond Howard.

Jackson was referring to the ESPN sports host who doubled as a standup comic and was one of the leading Jackson impersonators. He also announced World Series games, 10 Olympics and traveled to 31 countries, ESPN reported. Jackson also covered United States Football League games.

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Jackson once told The New York Times how broadcaster Ted Husing inspired his breezy style, advising him: "Never be afraid to turn a phrase". Although he always had broadcasting aspirations, practicing calls to imaginary games, he finally got his chance at an actual broadcast while attending Washington State.

Jackson worked on ABC's Wide World of Sports and also covered Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and 10 Olympic Games. But while his college football career alone would be legendary, it would be a disservice to forget the versatility Jackson showed that was a staple in the Wide World of Sports days.

His incredible pacing paired with Tim McCarver's storytelling during the broadcast to lead to one of the most well-known broadcasts for those who heard the call.

Jackson retired the booth following the 2005 season. He was the first play-by-play announcer of Monday Night Football, which debuted in 1970.

After serving four years in the Marine Corps, Jackson broadcast his first college football game in 1952 as an undergraduate at Washington State. "It was always about the kids on the field", he said. The final game he broadcast from Pasadena was the 2006 game in which Texas rallied to defeat USC for the national title. Jackson's longtime employer was ABC Sports.

The sport he is most identified with by far was college football and for years his voice on a telecast meant it was the day's biggest matchup. Jackson received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the American Football Coaches Association in 1993, the first sportscaster to ever receive the award.

"I would go around and pluck things off the bush and see if I could find a different way to say some things".