College Football Sportscaster Keith Jackson Dies At Age 89 A

Jackson worked for ABC Sports for 50 years. More

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

"Having a hard time finding the right words to express what the icon Keith Jackson meant to me personally, MI football and CFB, in general", former MI receiver Desmond Howard, now a football announcer himself, wrote on Twitter.

I can tell it the way I feel some days. He has been ABC's lead announcer since 1966, with the exception of 1970, when he was the play-by-play man for the first season of Monday Night Football.

He also broadcast Major League Baseball and NBA games along with the Olympics, gaining him entrance into the American Sportscasters Association and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Halls of Fame.

But the phrase most associated with Jackson is one even he seemed a bit baffled by.

Broyles was well-known for coaching the Razorbacks from 1958-76, but he said Jackson couldn't go anywhere on a game weekend without being recognized. My heart and prayers go out to his wife and children on this day and I thank them for allowing so many of us to have shared in Keith's life'.

Michigan Stadium widely is known as "The Big House". Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence. I was one of them, although I don't remember if I asked a question.

Broyles' first ABC broadcast wasn't with Jackson.

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He had first announced his retirement in 1998 but returned to work. Jackson, however, always maintained that he might have - might have, mind you - used the phrase a time or two early in his career but that mostly it was the work of impersonators, primarily Roy Firestone, who were responsible for the spread of the phrase.

What endeared Jackson to so many fans was a down-home style that sounded like he might as well have been sitting in the La-Z-Boy beside you in your living room calling the game you were watching. His voice had just enough of the South in it as a native Georgian to speak college football's language, but not so much that it turned off the rest of us. "Well, we had a mule in Georgia, but her name was Pearl".

Jackson flew to that big broadcast booth in the sky on Friday.

He said he had a mule named Pearl while growing up on a Georgia farm but attributed the expression to his great-grandfather Jefferson Davis Robison, who evidently plowed many a field holding the reins of a mule.

"If I've helped people enjoy the telecast, that's fine", he said.

"I think the best thing Keith ever told me was, 'Frank, whatever you say, be sure that a housewife in Eugene, Ore., can understand what you're saying'".

Jackson was also known for epithets like "Hold the phone!" when a penalty was called, or "fum-BLE" if a player dropped the ball.

The sports world, including Jackson's alma mater, Washington State University, were quick to mourn him.

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