Keith Jackson, whose folksy charm, smooth Southern voice and colorful sayings made him the voice of college football for decades, has died at 89.
Jackson’s family said he died Friday night.
The announcer left an imprint on the game few can approach, with Jackson’s presence immediately elevating the action on the field. He called some of the game’s biggest moments and even gave the Rose Bowl its nickname of the “Granddaddy of the All.”
His career went far beyond college football Saturdays, however, with Jackson in the booth for the Olympics, play-by-play on Monday Night Football, MLB games and more.
“Keith Jackson is a man of great character and a legendary broadcaster,” former ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheime said when Jackson retired in 2006. “For decades, his unmistakable style defined college football for millions of fans.”
Jackson was born on Oct. 18, 1928, in Georgia near the Alabama state line. He spent four years in the Marine Corps before attending Washington State and graduating with a broadcast journalism degree. He worked at the ABC affiliate in Seattle, KOMO, for 10 years, including conducting the first live sports broadcast from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1958.
He became sports director of ABC Radio West in 1964 and was a freelancer for ABC Sports until becoming part of its college football announcing crew.
The National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association named him the National Sportscaster of the Year five times, among other honors.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.