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Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at age 89

14 January 2018

But I never introduced myself, never dared approach a man known for being vastly approachable.

He presided over games with a rumbling baritone, a distinctive speaking rhythm, a trace of a Southern accent and a string of colloquialisms that made a Keith Jackson broadcast sound like no other. But while his college football career alone would be legendary, it would be a disservice to forget the versatility Jackson showed that was a staple in the Wide World of Sports days.

From there, his career would span 52 years covering college basketball, Summer and Winter Olympics, NFL, NBA, MLB, auto racing and even a rowing match in the former Soviet Union.

Among his Olympic credits were Mark Spitz's record seven gold medals in the 1972 Games and speedskater Eric Heiden's five golds in 1980. "And that's what inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming a sportscaster".

The phrase he was most associated with - and the one used by anyone who ever did a Keith Jackson impersonation - was "Whoa, Nellie!".

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In short, he was simply the greatest college football broadcaster of all time.

He was credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl "The Granddaddy of Them All" and MI 's stadium 'The Big House'. It was a fitting way for Jackson's final broadcast assignment to send him off into retirement. "For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit", McIlroy said. And now on the heels of the loss of Dick Enberg, we learned Saturday that Jackson too has died. After graduation, Jackson worked for KOMO-AM and KOMO-TV. In 1958, he did the first live sports broadcast from the Soviet Union to the US, a crew race between the University of Washington and a Soviet team.

"The one thing that he always said was, 'Don't be that guy they have to prop up".

Jackson leaves behind his wife Turi Ann, three grown children (Melanie, Lindsey, Christopher), and three grandchildren (Ian, Holly, Spencer).

"Just heard the news that everyone's favorite CFB broadcaster Keith Jackson passed away last night".

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Jackson was generous to the Murrow College not only with his money, but his time. They are in their 11th year together. "He means a lot to this community". To many people, Jackson was a college football broadcaster.

When Jackson was behind the mic, the game was a big deal. He'd brought his son Greg along and the two had spent the day touring the WSU campus.

Jackson recalled that as a boy there was not much "pro stuff" around.

One of the many iconic calls by the great Keith Jackson. Jackson also appeared in or narrated several sports documentaries. That's how Shipman's son recognized the sportscaster. "He put out his hand to Turi and said, 'You must be Nellie'".

Jackson, who is widely regarded as the voice of college football for many generations of football fans, retired from the booth in 2006 after calling games for more than 50 years of his life. Gatorade knew there was only one voice that could define their product, college football, and in essence Gainesville, FL.

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So I'm sure I sat in silence and did what I always did, what was always the easy thing to do.

Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dies at age 89