BRISTOL – Bob Ley, ESPN’s longest-tenured anchor, announced his retirement Wednesday after 40 years with the network.
He announced in a statement that he will retire at the end of this month, ending a career he began as “SportsCenter” anchor on Sept. 9, 1979 — the network’s third day of operation.
Ley, 64, who had taken a leave of absence from ESPN in October, said it was “time for change.”
“To be clear, this is entirely my decision. I enjoy the best of health, and the many blessings of friends and family, and it is in that context that I’m making this change,” he said.
In 1980, Ley hosted the first-ever NCAA Tournament selection show and the first live broadcast of the NFL draft. Since 1990, he had hosted “Outside the Lines,” ESPN’s investigative news program.
Ley was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame for Sports Broadcasting earlier this week. He won 11 Sports Emmy Awards at ESPN, including a 2018 Emmy for outstanding studio host. Ley and “Outside the Lines” also won four Edward R. Murrow Awards.
“The standard of excellence that has become a hallmark of ESPN began in the early days when we were a start-up with a bold vision. Bob was there for all of it and, over the years, his unwavering commitment and unparalleled work ethic drove our journalistic ambitions,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement.
“The best way we can thank Bob for what he’s meant to ESPN and to sports fans is to continue to uphold the journalistic integrity and principles he’s instilled in ESPN for nearly 40 years.”
–Field Level Media