Keith Jackson

Kieth Jackson

Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson, the Godfather of college football, just passed away. He was 89.

Keith Jackson coined such phrases as “Whoa Nellie!” and “the Big Ugly” and “The Weekend With Whiskers” and called Michigan’s football stadium “The Big House.”  Keith Jackson was a former American sportscaster, known for his long career with ABC Sports television, his coverage of college football as well as his style of folksy, down-to-earth commentary and deep voice.

“For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “When you heard his voice, you knew it was a big game. Keith was a true gentleman and a memorable presence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Turi Ann, and his family.”

Jackson got his start on the radio in 1952, broadcasting Washington State games, but went on to provide the national television soundtrack for the biggest games in the most storied stadiums. His colorful expressions — “Whoa, Nellie” and “Big Uglies” among the many — became part of the college football lexicon.”

So long, Keith Jackson. Thanks for the memories.

Here are some of his Keith’s quotes: 

“Great teams have great character. These are teams that are not distraught that they’re down at halftime.” 


“The question came up the other day: Has there ever been another game that had more on it or more hype? The answer is no. … I think this one goes down as an all-time all-timer.” 


“He had never seen a corn dog, much less tasted one. It took him three quarters to eat one, and then he ate three.” 


“It’s just the aura, the ambience, particularly when it’s full. And then you’ve got the broad-shouldered San Gabriel’s sitting there, looking down on all of this.” — Keith Jackson

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