Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for more than a half-century, has died.
"Incredibly saddened to hear the loss of a broadcasting legend, the voice of college football across the Country, and WSU Cougar great, Keith Jackson", his alma mater tweeted. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence.
He is survived by his wife Turi Ann and 3 children. Jackson also worked National Basketball Association games, 11 World Series, 10 Winter and Summer Olympics and auto racing, according to the network. At his peak, he was associated with the sport nearly as strongly as any player or coach. "The star linebacker just 'pinned his ears back" and 'laid a few licks on folks.' And as long as a team continues to 'dodge the bullet, ' it figures to be 'in the hunt.' Some KJ-ologists insist that Jackson invented 'in the hunt'".
But the phrase most associated with Jackson is one even he seemed a bit baffled by.
To Jackson, linemen were not guards and tackles, they were "the big uglies".
He would describe an especially rough game as a "slobber knocker" in which the players were "rockin' and a-sockin' and a-whackin' and a-crackin'". It was Jackson who proclaimed the Rose Bowl "The Grandaddy of Them All".
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"This 'Whoa, Nellie!' thing is overrated", he said.
After graduating, Jackson spent 10 years at ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle in news, sports and production, at first in radio and then television, including a time as the news co-anchor.
Jackson's "Whoa, Nellie!" punctuating an exciting play was his best-remembered good ol' boy touch, though he maintained that he didn't use it all that often. He said: "I'm a goofy old goat".
Jackson grew up near Carrollton, Ga., picking cotton and plowing his poor family's farm.
Arledge knew that Jackson was a college football fan and he offered him the lead broadcast voice of the ABC College Football Game of the Week.
Today's college football broadcasters paid tribute to Jackson on social media. Jackson had a wide-spanning appeal across the college football landscape because he had a deep understanding and appreciation of the sport from multiple angles.
It was college football, though, that set him apart.