"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football", said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC. 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 memorable presence. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Turi Ann.
Jackson was known for his famous catch phrases such as "Woah Nellie" and is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl the "Granddaddy of Them All" and naming Michigan University's stadium the "Big House".
ESPN reported his death Saturday, receiving word from his family. He worked at ABC from 1966 through 2006, where he rose to prominence as he usually called the biggest college football game of the week. "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. "He did it for a long, long time".
A native of Georgia, Jackson's southern drawl fit perfectly with the sport.
Jackson spent his broadcasting career calling multiple events for ABC, from baseball to basketball and ABC's Wide World of Sports, but he will always be connected to his work covering college football.
"Can close my eyes and think of so many of his special calls", ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who was part of the studio cast that final game, wrote on Twitter. Vince Young scrambled into the end zone in the closing seconds of the game as Texas defeated USC to claim the BCS championship in what some call the best college football game ever. "Thank you for the lessons KJ".
He also served as the announcer for the first season of Monday Night Football in 1970 but served in that role for just one season.
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.