Legendary college football announcer Keith Jackson died on Friday at 89-years-old. According to NBC Sports' Todd Harris, Jackson passed away late Friday night surrounded by his family.
The voice of college football and so much more has left us. My mentor and dear friend, Keith Jackson passed last night surrounded by his family. Truly one of the greats in the broadcasting industry. I am grateful for my time with a true legend. Thank you for the lessons KJ. pic.twitter.com/SPGIZXrZNA— Todd Harris (@TheToddHarris) January 13, 2018
Jackson's voice was synonymous with college football for generations of fans. His calls were as much a part of the entertainment as the game itself, and he'll be remembered forever for his signature call: "Whoa, Nellie!"
In his 56 years as a college football commentator, Jackson covered 15 Rose Bowls. His final game was the infamous 2006 showdown between USC and Texas in Pasadena. The stadium's broadcasting TV and radio booths were renamed "The Keith Jackson Broadcast Center" in 2005.
Although best known for his work on college football, Jackson had a career that spanned the world of sports. He was the first play-by-play announcer for ABC's Monday Night Football, and he appeared on Wide World of Sports. He also worked on several Olympic broadcasts.
The whole world of sports and journalism took a moment to mourn Jackson on Saturday morning, with players, coaches, and other broadcasters acknowledging his iconic work.
We are saddened to hear of Keith Jackson's passing.
An absolute icon, he was the Voice of the Rose Bowl and so many #B1G moments.
His calls, including this one, will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/zbE01ZxSfn— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 13, 2018
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 impact will live on forever. #RIP #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/iROnEOWOcZ— WSU Cougar Football (@wsucougfb) January 13, 2018
Just heard the news that everyone’s favorite CFB broadcaster Keith Jackson passed away last night. Can close my eyes and think of so many of his special calls. Thank you Keith for all the memories and the grace in which you provided them. RIP Keith. 🙏🏼 #GOAT— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) January 13, 2018
Jackson was interviewed by Bill Plaschke for The Los Angeles Times recently, on the ten year anniversary of his retirement. Plaschke captured the experience of hearing Jackson's voice again in heart-breaking detail.
"To hear him again is to be taken back to your childhood again," he wrote, "sitting in front of the television with a bologna sandwich and a Coke as the Saturday afternoon sun slowly sets on that lawn you just mowed, watching Bo and Woody and Bear come to life through a syrupy ballad that still sounds wonderfully like some kid breaking tackles and sprinting through a weed-choked field in rural nowhere."