College Football

Keith Jackson, legendary voice of college football, dies at 89


Keith Jackson, legendary voice of college football, dies at 89

Legendary ABC Sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, the voice of college football for decades, has died. He was 89.

Jackson died surrounded by his family, NBC Sports' Todd Harris tweeted Saturday morning.

A fixture on ABC's college football broadcasts for more than a half-century, Jackson was known for punctuating calls with his signature, "Whoa, Nellie!" or homespun phrasing such as linemen being "big uglies in the trenches."

"For generations of fans, Keith Jackson was college football," Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, ESPN's corporate parent, said in a statement. "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."

He coined the phrase "Granddaddy of Them All" for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and worked 15 of them, including his final game before his retirement in 2006 when Texas beat USC for the national championship. The Rose Bowl TV and radio booths were renamed "The Keith Jackson Broadcast Center" in 2005.

Named National Sportscaster of the Year five times, Jackson also worked NFL games and was the original play-by-play voice of "Monday Night Football." He and Celtics legend Bill Russell called NBA games on ABC for four years.

He also worked 10 Olympics, World Series, auto racing and traveled to 31 countries for ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
Jackson was born on Oct. 18, 1928, in Georgia near the Alabama state line. He spent four years in the Marine Corps before attending Washington State and graduating with a broadcast journalism degree. He worked at the ABC affiliate in Seattle, KOMO, for 10 years, including conducting the first live sports broadcast from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1958.

He became sports director of ABC Radio West in 1964 and became part of the network's college football announcing crew when ABC acquired the rights in 1966.

An Associated Press report included in this story.


Report: Boston College close to hiring Ohio State DC Jeff Hafley as head coach
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Report: Boston College close to hiring Ohio State DC Jeff Hafley as head coach

Boston College reportedly is close to hiring its new head football coach.

After parting ways with Steve Addazio earlier this month, the Eagles are close to replacing him with Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.

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Hafley helped the Buckeyes finish No. 2 nationally in total defense this season. Prior to joining Ohio State in 2019, Hafley served as a defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

The move particularly makes sense for BC as it finished the 2019 campaign No. 125 of 130 in total defense. Hafley also has built a reputation over the years as one of the top recruiters in the country.

The formal announcement of Hafley's hiring is expected to be made soon.

Boston College fires head football coach Steve Addazio

File photo

Boston College fires head football coach Steve Addazio

Boston College is moving on from its head football coach Steve Addazio.

BC fired Addazio on Sunday, according to Yahoo Sports. Addazio spent the last seven seasons with the Eagles, fishing his tenure in Chestnut Hill with a 44-44 record.

Boston College ended its 2019 campaign 6-6, but was able to earn a 26-19 road win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. According to Yahoo, "BC brass made the move in the hopes of finding someone who can make the Eagles more competitive in the ACC."

Wide receivers coach Rich Gunnell reportedly will replace Addazio in the interim.

Addazio had signed a two-year contract extension with BC after last season.

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