Rece Davis: GameDay is ‘the best job in television’

Air It Out: Episode #12

Rece Davis: GameDay is ‘the best job in television’
ESPN College GameDay Host, Rece Davis, talks going to Alabama, getting hired by ESPN, the best GameDay atmospheres, and much more.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - ESPN College GameDay Host, Rece Davis, joins Rick Karle this week to discuss growing up in Muscle Shoals, working at ESPN, and everything in between.

Highlights from the episode include:

Going to the University of Alabama

“It was a wonderful experience for me. While you have to, in our jobs, step back from wherever you went to school, certainly the University of Alabama is very special to me, and it’s an important part of my life and my development.”

Covering multiple sports & being a good host

“I think those things were very helpful to me. The major sports I knew, I learned hockey during my time in Michigan, so I was good there, but having to do auto racing, horse racing, and [World Cup]...I think it was more an opportunity to learn and tell stories and be able to engage in conversation with your analyst. Because anybody can go in, and the producers I work with know and even tease me about it, I hate it when they say ‘tee up’ the analyst. I always tell them, look, you can get a trained seal to come out here and ‘tee up’ the analyst. A good host is involved in the conversation, I have stuff I can do. If you just want to hand me a list of questions to ask somebody, I’m not into that. So you have to put in a lot of effort if you aren’t well versed in the sport and they ask you to do it. But I do pride myself on the fact that I was willing and hopefully able, successfully, to learn and [host] shows in sports that I was not as familiar in when I started.”

Greatest SportsCenter host

“To me, the best person ever to do SportsCenter is Keith Olbermann. Keith’s brilliance in writing, to watch him write a show and every word be hilarious, insightful, informative, or something…it was fascinating.”

Rece shares a story about a phone call from Keith Olbermann that came at such an important moment in his career (17:45). It’s part of why Davis says he has such loyalty to ‘KO’ and appreciation for what he did at ESPN.

“With all due respect to the other great guys who have done it; Chris Berman is awesome, Stuart Scott is unbelievable, Dan Patrick is an absolute textbook of what of a SportsCenter host should be, and Scott Van Pelt. We have to put a five-person Mt. Rushmore up there because Scott deserves to be up there with Stuart, Dan, Chris, and Keith for sure.”

What it’s like working on College GameDay

“It’s the best job in television, especially if you love college football the way I do. You get a chance to capture the feel and the vibe of campuses across the country. I think the thing that makes our show work is everybody there is deeply invested, not only in the success of the show, and of the show continuing to excel and not only meet the standard that’s been set, but to continue to raise that bar all the time. They are also invested in the good of the sport because everybody involved in [GameDay] cares deeply about college football.”

Best GameDay atmosphere

“I can’t imagine that everybody from this point forward is not playing for second place behind Washington State. That was the most amazing trip and scene of anything I’ve ever been involved with, in television.”

This just scratches the surface of the conversation with Davis. Check out the full episode to hear his thoughts on working with Lee Corso, why Nick Saban is the greatest coach in college football, just what role a payphone outside a Wendy’s played in his career.

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