Sports world shares Keith Jackson's famous on-air moments

Doug Mendoza
January 14, 2018

Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for more than a half-century, has died. Keith was a true gentleman and a memorable presence.

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

It was quarterback Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns taking on Reggie Bush and Southern Cal, with Texas winning the national championship in the final moments of the game.

He covered 10 Winter and Summer Olympics games, including the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

Keith Jackson was a throwback to an era when national sportscasters aggressively multitasked, and he was no exception, calling everything from Olympic swimming to baseball to the NBA to "Monday Night Football". Jackson said the origin of the phrase came from his great-grandfather. In Jackson's case, the best college-football broadcaster of all time didn't see Woody Hayes throw the 1978 Gator Bowl sideline punch that got the legendary Ohio State coach fired the next day.

"I was with Keith, but really I was just a sidekick, while Keith was the star of the show", Broyles said.

To many, Keith Jackson was one of the voices of their childhood and I am no different.

He also was widely known for the catchphrase, "Whoa, Nellie!".

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Forever remembered for his signature "Whoa, Nellie" call on ABC Sports, Jackson was one of the most popular play-by-play personalities in the business.

Jackson even paired alongside Dick Vitale as ABC's lead college basketball team for 5 years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. From 1969 to 2006 he was the soundtrack for college football with his distinctive baritone voice. "He'd do something or drop something or whatever, and oftentimes you'd hear him say, "Whoa, Nellie, ' that kind of stuff, and that kind of stuck to the scruffy little kid following him around,"' Jackson said in a 2013 appearance on Fox Sports" "Fox College Saturday".

"I never did use it that much - just a couple times when Grease (Bob Griese) and I were (broadcasting) together", Jackson told's Jim Weber in 2011.

Jackson was a broadcaster for years in Seattle.

Rest in peace, Keith Jackson, and thanks for all of the memories.

In a 52-year broadcasting career, Jackson covered a wide variety of sports for radio and TV, but he was best known as ABC's voice of NCAA football - and for the homespun phrases he used in reporting it. When Jackson was inducted into the American Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1995, Broyles was his presenter at the banquet. He also was the first play-by-play man for ABC's Monday Night Football, sharing a booth with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith.

Jackson, a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Pender Harbor, British Columbia, Canada, is survived by Turi Ann, his wife of 63 years.

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