A broadcaster who has been one of the most high-profile faces of ESPN for four decades announced his retirement this week. Bob Ley, who joined the sports network when it was just starting out in 1979, said he will retire at the end of this month.
In a statement, Ley said: “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.”
Ley, 64, has been the host of ESPN’s investigative news program “Outside the Lines” since it launched in May 1990.
“Ley joined ESPN as a ‘SportsCenter’ anchor on Sept. 9, 1979 — the third day of the network’s operation. In 1980, he hosted the first NCAA selection show and live broadcast of the NFL draft and continued in that role for the next nine years,” ESPN reported.
Ley also hosted ESPN’s weekly “E:60” show on Sunday mornings, among his many other appearances on the network.
Jeremy Schaap and Ryan Smith will reportedly lead “Outside the Lines” after Ley’s departure.
“Ley won 11 Sports Emmy Awards during his time at ESPN, including an Emmy for outstanding studio host in 2018,” ESPN noted. “Ley and ‘OTL’ won the DuPont Award in 2014 for reporting on issues in football at the youth level. Ley and ‘OTL’ also won four Edward R. Murrow Awards.”
Ley was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame earlier this week.
In a statement, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said: “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. 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.”
Here’s a message Ley posted on Twitter …