Keith Jackson, legendary college football announcer, dies at age 89


Keith Jackson, who called play-by-play action in college football for almost 50 years, dies Friday night.

"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football", said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC.

You can hear Jackson's call of the Texas-USC game below. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence.

Jackson spent the final 11 years of his life at home in California with his wife Turi Ann.

Jackson, using his homespun phrases, was credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl "The Granddaddy of Them All" and Michigan's stadium "The Big House".

Jackson retired from his duties in the booth following the 2005 season.

Jackson died Friday, according to a statement Saturday by ESPN, which consolidated with ABC Sports, Jackson's longtime employer. "And the older I got the more willing I was to go back into the Southern vernacular because some of it's amusing", Jackson said. "I haven't used it - I never did use it much - and I haven't used it in a long time".

Jackson covered many sports, but he was best known for college football.

"This is the ideal time", Jackson told The New York Times in May 2006.

"But the one thing you can't ever forget: The playing field is the property of the players and the coaches", Jackson continued.

Desmond Howard, who returned a punt for a touchdown at MI in one of Jackson's best-known calls, tweeted that he had a hard time expressing how much Jackson meant to him, his alma mater and college football.

"Can close my eyes and think of so many of his special calls", ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who was part of the studio cast that final game, wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for the lessons KJ". He was also the very first voice of "Monday Night Football" when it debuted in 1970.

Bob Griese, who was Jackson's long-time broadcast partner on college football games starting in 1985, was asked what he would remember about him.