Famed college football announcer Keith Jackson has died, his former employer ESPN confirmed to CBS News Saturday. He was 89.
Jackson was known for his famous catch phrases such as “Woah Nellie” and is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl the “Granddaddy of Them All” and naming Michigan University’s stadium the “Big House.”
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli writes that Jackson’s broadcast career began at Washington State in 1952 when he called a game between Washington State and Stanford, but it was just the first of many stops for Jackson. During his expansive career, Jackson also called the Olympics, NFL, MLB, NBA, PGA Tour golf, boxing, racing and college basketball. He was the first play-by-play man of Monday Night Football.
Jackson turned the word “fumble” into an event during games, stressing the second syllable to make it sound like he was saying “fum-BULL.” Another popular phrase was “Hold the phone!” following a penalty flag during a play with Jackson holding on to the “n” in phone for a while.
Jackson retired from his duties in the booth following the 2005 season. His final game was the classic 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC in which Vince Young scored on fourth-and-5 in the final seconds near the goal line to win a national title for the Longhorns.