Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dies at 89

Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson passed away at the age of 89 today

Veteran sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, famous for calling some of college football's biggest games, died Friday at age 89.

Sportscaster Keith Jackson, who coined the phrase "granddaddy of them all" and peppered his lively commentary covering college football with "whoa, Nellie", 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 a memorable presence.

Jackson began his career in broadcasting sports games in 1952 when he called the Washington State and Stanford football game.

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Jackson was born in 1928 on the Alabama-Georgia line but he went off to the Pacific Northwest to find fame and fortune.

Jackson worked on ABC's Wide World of Sports and also covered Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and 10 Olympic Games. It is the place where he called his final game, the 2006 BCS National Championship Game between USC and Texas. Jackson spent much of his broadcasting career with ABC. He was also the play-by-play voice for the first season of ABC's Monday Night Football in 1970.

He was so entrenched in college football, that ABC wouldn't let him retire the first time he tried.

Jackson initially announced his retirement in 1998, but continued to work a lighter schedule.

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The sports world, including Jackson's alma mater, Washington State University, were quick to mourn him. In 1972 Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in swimming, and in 1980 Eric Heiden won five individual gold medals in speedskating. People said I had a mule in Georgia named Nellie. It's fair to wonder if his relationship with college football is the most synonymous of any announcer and sport in American television history.

From there on out, Jackson's voice would become one of the most iconic in all of sports.

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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