Keith Jackson, the down-home voice of college football during more than five decades as a broadcaster, has died. He was 89. He died Friday and no cause was given in a statement Saturday by ESPN.
Jackson’s familiar “Whoa, Nellie” expression was a staple of his football game calls, but he was a versatile announcer who also worked on NBA, NFL, auto racing, and Olympics telecasts.
He was also credited with first calling the Rose Bowl “The granddaddy of them all,” and naming Michigan’s stadium “The Big House,” according to ESPN.
Jackson’s longtime employer was ABC Sports. Jackson covered many sports, but he was best known for college football. His signature phrases like ‘‘Whoa, Nelly!’’ gave his game calls a familiar feel.
Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said Jackson ‘‘was college football’’ for generations of fans. Jackson retired after the 2006 Rose Bowl and is a member of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Jackson was a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Pender Harbor, British Columbia. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Turi Ann.An Associated Press report was included. Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15.