Sportscaster Keith Jackson, known as the voice of college football” for his decades of broadcasting the game on ABC, died Friday night at the age of 89, ESPN announced Saturday.
“For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC. “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 legendary college football announcing for ABC, Jackson was also the first play-by-play announcer on “Monday Night Football,” and announced NBA basketball, numerous World Series, 10 Olympics and auto racing.
Locally, Jackson was perhaps best-known for broadcasting the Rose Bowl game every January. He was credited with dubbing the game, “The Granddaddy of Them All,” a nickname that still resonates.
Jackson retired in 2006 after 40 years with ABC.
“The voice of college football and so much more has left us,” tweeted Todd Harris of NBC Sports, who previously worked with Jackson at ABC/ESPN. “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.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also praised Jackson Saturday. “From the Coliseum to the Rose Bowl, Keith Jackson’s iconic voice welcomed us to gather with family & friends to witness the pursuit of greatness,” the mayor tweeted. “In triumph & defeat, his voice is inseparable from countless moments that brought us together & will stay with us in our hearts. RIP.”
Jackson received many honors during his lengthy career. In 1999, he was named to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. He received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the American Football Coaches Association and he was also named National Sportscaster of the Year five consecutive times, by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. Jackson is also in the National Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame, the NSSA Hall of Fame and the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
—City News Service
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