Legendary sports announcer honored for a career which included announcing 15 Rose Bowl games
Published : Sunday, December 15, 2019 | 5:43 AM
In the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains that he loved, outside the entrance to the historic Rose Bowl stadium, the wife, sons and daughters of broadcasting legend Keith Jackson unveiled a bronze statue Saturday afternoon in his honor.
Jackson was honored for the whole of his broadcasting career from Washington State to ABC Sports, a career which included announcing 15 Rose Bowl games from 1989 to 2006. It was Jackson who coined the phrase, “The Grandaddy of them all,” a phrase now universally used to describe the New Year’s Day game.
“Any great performer, great player, or great coach is only great because they reach a certain level and they stay there,” said USC All-American and four-time Super Bowl champion Lynn Swann, at the ceremony. “It’s consistency. Anyone can be a shooting star for one moment, one day, one performance, one time, when they look like they’re the best in the world at what they do. Keith Jackson did it every day.”
Along with Swann, Jackson’s wife, Turi Ann Jackson, longtime friend and Naismith Hall of Fame athlete Ann Meyers Drysdale, and Tournament of Rose President Laura Farber, all spoke remembrances of the fabled broadcaster. Former college football coach and current broadcaster Harvey Hyde emceed the event.
Drysdale recalled that one of her first major broadcasting events was working with Jackson on a women’s college basketball game.
“To this day that was one of the highlights of my career,” said Drysdale, “because he not only helped me, but he stood up for women’s sports, and women’s basketball, which at that time, was not getting a lot of respect.”
The statue, by Brian Hanlon of Toms River, New Jersey, depicts Jackson standing in his game-day pose in a suit jacket with microphone in hand. The microphone flag bears the Rose Bowl Game logo to represent his calling one of the most iconic football games of each season, on New Year’s Day.
Jackson’s statue stands outside of the main gate to America’s Stadium on the eastern side of the Rose Bowl Brick Plaza, with the Rose Bowl marquee and the San Gabriel Mountains as the statue’s backdrop.
Jackson’s statue is now the third commemorative statue on the Rose Bowl Stadium’s site. The first commemorative statue on the campus was the football statue of Jackie Robinson, dedicated in November 2017, followed by the second honoring Brandi Chastain and the 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Champions, which was dedicated on the 20th anniversary of their championship match on July 10, 2019.
The statue is also the third tribute to Jackson at the Rose Bowl. The stadium press box is called the Keith Jackson Broadcasting Center, and the stadium honored Jackson at a memorial service following his death in 2018.