Keith Jackson, a Legendary Voice of College Football, Dead at Age 89

By 11W Staff on January 13, 2018 at 11:06 am
RIP Keith Jackson. (Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times


According to multiple reports, the one and only Keith Jackson, has passed away at the age of 89. 

Jackson was the voice of college football often noted for his work covering Alabama and of course many versions of The Game. Here he is providing an elegant intro to the 2003 edition: 

Here's a another clip with some of his best calls:

The man was a legend and if you're a little older, you remember him announcing some of Ohio State's biggest games in the late 1990s including the 1998 tilt against Michigan. 

A perfect night was made even better as Jackson was on the call for Ohio State's national championship date with the Miami Hurricanes. Here he is owning the intro.

And here he is closing out Ohio State's upset win. 

While he's often remembered for the catchphrase, "Whoa, Nellie", the reality is Jackson wasn't overly enamored with his link to it because he didn't think it was valid: 

"I never did use it that much, just a couple times when Grease (Bob Griese) and I were (broadcasting) together," Jackson, now 82, said this week from his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. "Bob Griese used it more than I did. I don't know how that thing got hung on me. The media likes to hang things on you and that was my bad luck, I guess."

Does he even like the phrase?

"Eh," Jackson replied. "I haven't used it — I never did use it much — and I haven't used it in a long time. It's amazing how it's hung on."

Whoa, Nellie be damned, Jackson was as poetic as it gets on the mic and he'll forever be synonymous with college football. 

Jackson spent 40 years with ABC Sports and beyond his hallowed college football calls he also spent time covering MLB and NBA games along with 10 Olympic Games, NASCAR, college basketball USFL, and the first season of Monday Night Football alongside Howard Cosell and Don Meredith.

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO for The Walt Disney Company released the following statement:

“For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football. When you heard his voice, you knew it was a big game. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Turi Ann, and his family.”

In addition to his work in the booth that made him famous, it's important to call out he also served his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps from 1946-50. 

RIP, Keith. 

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