Keith Jackson, longtime sports announcer who was The Voice of college football for the first 35 years of my life (and for a number of years before that), has passed away at the age of 89, per multiple reports.
Jackson is one of those people who, even if you didn’t know who he was, you knew the voice -- he was a consistent presence in American sporting events for a half-century, covering a wide variety of sporting events, including the legendary 16 inning NLCS game between the Astros and Mets in 1986 and a number of Olympic games. He was one of those at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich whose coverage of a sporting event turned into coverage of an international tragedy after eleven Israeli athletes were taken hostage, and eventually killed, by terrorist group Black September.
Jackson’s truly iconic role, however, was as the voice of college football -- his distinctive tones and catchphrase “Whoa Nelly” were an indelible part of college football Saturdays the entire time I was growing up and well into my 30s, and he and the college game will forever be linked together.
We extend our sympathies to the Jackson family on this sad day.