Bob Ley is retiring from ESPN at the end of June, he said on Wednesday, following a remarkable 40-year run there.
The sports journalism legend joined what became the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” on its very first weekend in 1979. It was not a “leader” in anything at the time. He signed off from his last show in September.
Ley has done everything imaginable at ESPN, but in recent years focused on being the face of investigative reporting series “Outside the Lines,” and covering international soccer. Reach more about his terrific career and numerous accomplishments here.
Below is Ley’s full statement, in which he says the call to hang it up was “entirely my decision.”
Across 40 years I have enjoyed a professional journey unimaginable when I joined ESPN on its first weekend of existence in 1979. Each day since has been a unique adventure, one I embraced for the challenge and unequaled fun of a job like no other.
Now, it is time for change.
I will be retiring from ESPN, as of the end of the month.
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.
To Jimmy Pitaro and his senior leadership team, my sincere personal thanks for their understanding and patience over the past months.
Through the decades, and my innumerable experiences at ESPN, I have built many deep and fulfilling friendships. You know who you are. I hope you also know how much you mean to me. We have shared an American story unlike any other. And we will continue to do so in the years ahead.
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.
In September, I signed off my last show saying, “I’ll catch you on the flip side.” 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.
And in Twitter form:
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 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,” company president Jimmy Pitaro said on Wednesday. “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.”
Below is Bob saying goodbye back in the fall.
I'll catch you on the flip side. pic.twitter.com/q0HNBn5rmu
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) September 28, 2018