Legendary former KOMO sportscaster Keith Jackson dies at 89

Keith Jackson (Washington Sate University photo)

Keith Jackson, the legendary sportscaster who spent the early years of his career at KOMO-TV, died late Friday night at the age of 89, according to ESPN and media reports.

Jackson's career began at Washington State University in the 1950s and ended in 2006, after years as the folksy "voice of college football" with ABC Sports.

Though best known for his college football broadcasts, Jackson announced numerous other sports for ABC throughout his career, including Major League Baseball, NBA basketball, boxing, auto racing, PGA Tour golf, the USFL, and the Olympic Games, according to Wikipedia.

He also served as the pregame, halftime, and postgame anchor for ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXII in 1988. In addition, he traveled to 31 countries for "Wide World of Sports."

During his on-air tenure, he is credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl as "The Grandaddy of them All" and Michigan Stadium as "The Big House." His signature phrases like "Whoa, Nelly!" gave his game calls a familiar feel.

Jackson began working for KOMO Radio in Seattle in the 1950s and later for KOMO-TV from 1954 to 1964 as co-anchor for the station's first news team, covering Seafair hydroplane races, minor league Seattle Rainiers baseball games, and University of Washington football games.

His final game broadcast ended up being the 2006 Rose Bowl, the thrilling national-title showdown between USC and Texas.

The National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association named him the National Sportscaster of the Year five times, among other honors.

Jackson was a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, California, and Pender Harbor, British Columbia. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Turi Ann.

Here is Eric Johnson's salute to Keith Jackson broadcast Sept. 4, 2014, on KOMO-TV :

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