Longtime ABC Sports broadcaster Keith Jackson died Friday night. He was 89.
ESPN announced the news Saturday morning after confirmation from Jackson’s family.
The Georgia native is best known for his coverage of college football for more than five decades from 1952 through his retirement in 2006. The last 40 years of that play-by-play work came with ABC Sports.
“For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football,” Walt Disney Company chairman Bob Iger said, per ESPN. “When you heard his voice, you knew it was a big game. Keith was a true gentleman and memorable presence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Turi Ann, and his family.”
When Jackson retired 12 years ago, he told the New York Times, “I’m 77 and I feel it,” adding he hated the on-air mistakes that started to creep into his usually flawless work.
His performance over the years, which also included MLB and NBA games, the Olympics and other sports in addition to his role as a college football stalwart, earned him entrance into the American Sportscasters Association and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Halls of Fame.
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.
“I live by what my grandfather once told me about awards,” Jackson said. “‘If you can’t eat it, drink it, cash it or sleep with it, don’t worry about it.”
He added, “I want to be remembered as a good ol’ boy who married a gorgeous lady [Turi Ann Jackson] and we had a great life together.”
Nevertheless, his voice will forever be the soundtrack of such memorable contests as the 2006 BCS National Championship Game between USC and Texas as well as the classic duel between rivals Miami and Florida State in 1991, among countless others.