Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger says Jackson "was college football" for generations of fans. If there was a big game being played on ABC, Keith Jackson's voice would likely be behind the microphone. Keith was a true gentleman and a memorable presence.
Jackson spent the final 11 years of his life at home in California with his wife Turi Ann. He, and his go-to line of "Whoa Nellie", helped provide play-by-play to many classic matchups, including his final game when Texas defeated USC in a thrilling BCS Championship at the Rose Bowl. Jackson covered the Olympics, the NBA, Major League Baseball, auto racing and more. "And the older I got the more willing I was to go back into the Southern vernacular because some of it's amusing", Jackson said.
CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli writes that Jackson's broadcast career began at Washington State in 1952 when he called a game between Washington State and Stanford, but it was just the first of many stops for Jackson. "He did it for a long, long time". Jackson, a Georgia native, told Fox Sports in 2013 that he got the phrase from his great-grandfather, a farmer.
Keith Jackson after raising the Cougar flag before the start of an NCAA college football game against Portland State on September 13, 2014, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.
His down-to-earth style and friendly demeanor made him one of the most popular people of all time to call sporting events.
Kirk Herbstreit, the former Ohio State QB and current ESPN college football analyst, called Jackson the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in a social media post Saturday. Thank you Keith for all the memories and the grace in which you provided them.
He was part of ABC's original Monday Night Football broadcast team - with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith - when the program debuted in 1970.
Jackson worked for ABC Sports from 1966-2006 and college football wasn't his only sport.