ESPN's Bob Ley Is Retiring After Almost 40 Years

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A sports broadcasting legend and a pioneer, ESPN’s Bob Ley, is retiring from the network after nearly 40 years.

Ley, 64, has been with “The Worldwide Leader” almost from the start. ESPN revolutionized sports and broadcasting when it launched on Sept. 7, 1979, and Ley signed on as an anchor two days later — and has been there ever since.

He announced his retirement Wednesday on Twitter.

“Across 40 years I have enjoyed a professional journey unimaginable when I joined ESPN on its first weekend in existence in 1979,” Ley wrote. “Each day since has been a unique adventure, one I embraced for the challenge and the unequaled fun of a job like no other.

“Now, it is time for a change. I will be retiring from ESPN, as of the end of the month.

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“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 has been on a leave of absence from the network since Oct. 1, 2018, saying at the time, “The idea of stepping back to re-charge is fully 100 percent mine,” reported USA Today. Ley was due to return in early May, but the leave of absence was extended.

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He thanked ESPN’s president, saying, “To Jimmy Pitaro and his senior leadership team, my sincere personal  thanks for their understanding and patience over the past months.”

Meanwhile, Pitaro praised Ley, saying in a statement, “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.”

Ley has done just about everything at ESPN over the course of his career, including anchoring “SportsCenter,” providing World Cup play-by-play and hosting various studio shows.

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But he is best-known for his work on the award-winning sports news show “Outside the Lines,” which tackled issues beyond the field. Ley has hosted the show since its inception in 1990. He’s also the host of ESPN’s “E:60.”

He not only left his mark on viewers and athletes but was revered by his fellow broadcasters as well.

It’s truly the end of an era as Ley — along with Chris Berman — has long been not only the face of the network but the foundation on which it was built.

What’s next for Ley?

“In September, I signed off my last show saying, ‘I’ll catch you on the flip side,'” Ley said in his tweet. “Now it’s time to take that vinyl off the turntable (ask your folks), flip it over, and drop the needle on the B-side. There are always great cuts, and hidden gems on the B-side.

“Thank you for a great run.”

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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