Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Legendary 'Woah Nellie' Sports Announcer Passes Away

Legendary 'Woah Nellie' Sports Announcer Passes Away

Jackson was viewed by many as the voice of college football, as the legendary ABC Sports play-by-play announcer called games for more than 50 years.

"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football", said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence.

Jackson, whose career spanned nearly 60 years in broadcasting, covered a wide variety of sports.

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Jackson informally christened the University of Michigan's cavernous stadium at Ann Arbor "the Big House"; he relished broadcasting the Rose Bowl game, "the granddaddy of 'em all"; and he admired the enormous linemen, who were "the Big Uglies in the trenches". Jackson has spanned the globe to announce a wide variety of sports, including boxing, swimming, golf, arm-wrestling, basketball, baseball, auto racing and 10 Olympic Games. He finally called it a career after describing the Texas-University of Southern California national championship game at the Rose Bowl in early 2006.

Jackson was referring to the ESPN sports host who doubled as a standup comic and was one of the leading Jackson impersonators. In addition, he was the first play-by-play announcer in "Monday Night Football" history when the NFL program debuted in 1970. He spent four years in the Marine Corps before attending Washington State and graduating with a broadcast journalism degree. He said: "I'm a goofy old goat".

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

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He had first announced his retirement in 1998 but returned to work.

Born in Roopville, Georgia, on October 18, 1928, Jackson was also the first play-by-play broadcaster for "Monday Night Football" when it debuted in 1970 and covered a wide range of sports. His final game in a 52-year career was, fittingly, one of the greatest college football games of all time. He worked in radio and television before joining ABC Sports in 1966.

Jackson won an Emmy and was inducted into two sportscasting halls of fame.

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