Legendary sports broadcaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

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Jackson's familiar "Whoa, Nellie" expression was a staple of his football game calls, but he was a versatile announcer who also worked on NBA, NFL, and Olympics telecasts.

College Football 24/7 will have more on Jackson's passing soon.

No one you have ever heard on radio or TV more carefully, or with more ease, pronounced hard or potentially embarrassing words better than Jackson.

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

Jackson was also a man of the people.

So that apparently is who Jackson often thought of when he watched college football.

Even after decades in the job, Jackson retained an old-fashioned, wide-eyed love for the college game.

"My grandma once told my mama", he recalled, " 'The kid's walking insane around the cornfield, talking to himself.' I was calling ballgames". "But I'm not. It's still fun to see new generations enjoy the game peaceably. I'll probably still go out and watch a Division III game and get a kick out of it". "You let it seep into you".

When news broke this morning that Keith Jackson had passed on, there was a definite sadness that I could not move on from. "If it means quoting Shakespeare or Goethe, do it". "He'd do something or drop something or whatever, and oftentimes you'd hear him say, "Whoa, Nellie, ' that kind of stuff, and that kind of stuck to the scruffy little kid following him around,"' Jackson said in a 2013 appearance on Fox Sports" "Fox College Saturday".

In 2015, he told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times he didn't want the accolades from his professional career to become his lasting legacy, though.

Jackson also gave us the term "Big Uglies" for the offensive linemen who toil in the trenches and nicknamed Michigan Stadium "The Big House".

Tributes continue to pour in for Keith Jackson.

Jackson was born October 28, 1928, and raised on a farm near the Georgia-Alabama state line, riding a horse to school and intrigued by sports broadcasts on radio.

Known for his no-nonsense, melodic call, Jackson coined several phrases throughout his 50-plus years in broadcasting.

Jackson, whose career spanned nearly 60 years in broadcasting, covered a wide variety of sports. He retired with the 2006 Rose Bowl, where quarterback Vince Jackson led his Longhorns to the national championship over USC.

"If it's the end, then it's the end", Jackson said after that game in the ABC broadcast compound outside the Rose Bowl.

Jeffery C. Mays contributed reporting.