Remembering Keith Jackson, the voice of college football

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In 55 years covering college football, Keith Jackson was on the call for numerous biggest games and moments in the sport's history. He also worked National Football League and NBA games, numerous World Series, 10 Olympics and auto racing, and he traveled to 31 countries for "Wide World of Sports". He is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl as "The Granddaddy of them All" and Michigan Stadium as "The Big House". For more than half a century, Jackson was the voice of college football and his pipes provided the soundtrack for numerous game's most memorable plays and games. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence. "If I hadn't had a physical, I would have kept going and I never would have known, because nothing was bothering me".

He attributed his "Whoa, Nellie", to his great-grandfather, a farmer who used that phrase in the fields.

No one you have ever heard on radio or TV more carefully, or with more ease, pronounced hard or potentially embarrassing words better than Jackson. Instead, Keith Jackson was calling the game, and when that linebacker made a tackle, Jackson said...

Broyles' first ABC broadcast wasn't with Jackson. He also was the lead play-by-play announcer for the USFL during its short run, calling all three championship games along with other broadcasts on ABC.

As former quarterback Bob Griese, Jackson's colour commentator for many years, recalled it: "At our first game, he said to me, 'All right, what do you want to do?' I said: 'You're the guy who's been here". We wanted to do this forever, and Jackson was one of those big reasons why. "Oh doctor, with S.U. behind and seconds left, my supply of homespun sayings is lower than a doodlebug in Aunt Tillie's root cellar", the obvious Jackson stand-in says. From the World Series to the Olympics, NFL to National Basketball Association, he did it all over five decades as a sportscaster, but most appropriately his final assignment before retiring 12 years ago was one of the greatest college football games ever.

Jackson is survived by his wife of 63 years, Turi Ann.

Jackson joined ABC Sports full time in 1966.

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The area where he made his biggest contribution was definitely college football.

In 1987, Sports Illustrated chronicled some of Jackson's most popular descriptions.

After graduating, Jackson spent 10 years at ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle in news, sports and production, at first in radio and then television, including a time as the news co-anchor.

He told me you can go back through the history of the sport, as he said he had done, and find very few years in which a team that did not finish among the top four teams in the final polls had a worthy claim to the national title.

Jackson was inducted into the American Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 1994. Blackmon, who is 31, hit 37 homers with 104 RBI past year and can become a free agent after this season. He was a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, California, and died near his home there.

Jackson met his wife at Washington State University and the couple had three children.

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