Keith Jackson was born on October 18, 1928 in Roopville, Georgia. He is known as one of the most famous sports broadcasters in the United States for his work with the ABC network. Keith Jackson has devoted nearly forty years to announcing college football
games and is known as “the voice of college football.”
Despite being born in the South, Keith Jackson made his move out West later in life. He attended Washington State University where he found his love for sports broadcasting. Working for the school’s sports teams, he started a career that would affect millions of Americans.
In 1967, Keith Jackson earned a spot on ABC’s coverage team for college football. In his first season in the broadcast booth, he announced the game of the year that pitted the top two teams in the nation against each other. The game was between the University of Southern California Trojans and the UCLA Bruins, ranked number one and two in the nation respectively. The talent for broadcasting that Keith Jackson showed during the game earned him immediate fame in sports broadcasting and assured his spot in the business for years to come.
Just three years later, in 1970, Keith Jackson was offered the job as the play-by-play man for ABC’s Monday Night Football. The season was the first for Monday Night Football and the last for Keith Jackson. After one year, he was replaced and returned his broadcasting focus to college football.
Although Keith Jackson has been ABC’s head man for college football for many years, he has also been assigned to cover other sports throughout the years for ABC. He has covered professional baseball, basketball, boxing, auto racing, and the Olympics. In 1988, ABC gave him one more try covering the NFL when they had him announce Super Bowl XXII.
One of his most famous jobs as a broadcaster came during the 1972 Olympics when there was an attack by Palestinian terrorists. Jackson was the perfect person to cover both the sports and news side of the Olympic Games, helping millions of Americans understand the situation.
In 1998, Keith Jackson announced that he would retire after the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, the college football national championship game that year. Before the following college football season began, he changed his mind and worked out a new schedule with ABC that allowed him to stay on the West Coast for most of his games. He became the voice for many of the USC Trojans’ football games over the past few seasons. On April 27, 2006, Keith Jackson decided to re-retire from sports broadcasting.
During the past few years, Keith Jackson has also appeared in commercials for Gatorade and Ice Breakers using his famous voice and catchphrases. His catchphrases have spanned entire generations of sports broadcasting. He will be remembered for many of these including his most famous catchphrase, “Whoa, Nellie!”