Rece Davis has inked a multi-year extension with ESPN which will see him continue his role as the face of both the college football and college basketball GameDay properties, the network announced this morning. Davis, who has been at ESPN for a quarter-century, also anchors the College Football Playoff Top 25 Rankings Show, calls select college basketball games and will return to UEFA European Football Championship coverage.
He is undoubtedly essential to the network's coverage of college sports and among the best, if not the best, studio host in all of sports television. Keeping him in-house as long as possible is a smart move by ESPN, as was entrusting him with the gridiron version of GameDay back in 2015 when Chris Fowler moved into the marquee Saturday night play-by-play role. Replacing Fowler was a monumental task as he had long been behind the wheel of a television institution.
Davis was, at that time, somewhat underutilized, hosting the basketball pregame show as well as the Thursday night college football contest, while working alongside Bob Knight on roundball broadcasts. And looking back, he was under-appreciated even two decades into his Worldwide Leader tenure. There weren't a ton of chest-beating doubters over his ability to lead Saturday morning's flagship program, but it was widely wondered if he could ever fill the large footprint created by Fowler.
More than five years later, it's safe to say that he has, along the way making it his in the subtle, composed way Davis approaches his on-air time. There's an over-reliance in the term "traffic cop" when it comes to anchors who must ensure a thousand moving parts function on time and how they are supposed to. Because Davis is far more than that and today is a rare day in that people are taking stock of the legacy he's built steadily and soundly without having to be the squeakiest wheel.
At 55, it's easy to imagine he has another decade-plus in the tank and it would be fantastic for all parties involved if the Davis-ESPN partnership continued until the former retires. It's a good day for the network, which shores up its collegiate coverage for the foreseeable future and keeps a top talent away from Fox, which has made a habit of bringing over Bristol-adjacent talent over the past 18 months.