Bob Ley, an ESPN original and paragon of sports journalism on television, announced his retirement Wednesday after 40 years at the network.
Ley, a “SportsCenter’ anchor during the program’s ‘80s rise to cultural prominence, but best known as the host of “Outside The Lines,’’ had been on a leave of absence since October.
Too many folks to thank individually, right now, but know that I have you all in my mind and my heart. Some news to share: pic.twitter.com/Qydhpcy4MV
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) June 26, 2019
The 64-year-old was ESPN’s longest-tenured anchor, having debuted on Sept. 9, 1979, the third day the upstart cable sports network was on air.
“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 a statement.
“I have been gifted by our viewers and consumers with a precious commodity — your trust. To be invited into your homes was a privilege I never took for granted, one I worked each day to uphold. Thank you for that. Thank you for a great run.”
Ley hosted “Outside The Lines,” ESPN’s investigative news program, since the show launched in May 1990 and also hosted ESPN’s weekly “E:60” news magazine show on Sunday mornings.
Ley, an 11-time Sports Emmy winner who was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame earlier this week, joined interim host Jeremy Schaap to say goodbye on Wednesday’s program.
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) June 26, 2019
“Nothing would please me more than continuing to consume, tune-in, to read and just to see the reaction to great stuff being done here,” said Ley. “If anything I did has a small role going forward, then that’s good stuff.”