Your Saturday mornings this fall will have a new host, as Rece Davis is replacing Chris Fowler on ESPN's College GameDay, the network announced Thursday night, part of a new multi-year contract extension through 2021.
Davis has hosted college football studio shows and done play-by-play for ESPN's Thursday night games, and he serves as the host of ESPN's traveling college basketball GameDay show. With his new duties, Davis will no longer call Thursday night football games, but will call select bowl games and resume weekly play-by-play duties for basketball.
Fowler has served as the host on College GameDay since 1990, and took over primary play-by-play duties for the ABC primetime games and the College Football Playoff this past season. Davis has long been considered an obvious choice to take over for Fowler when he decided to leave GameDay, so this is not necessarily much of a surprise. Davis has been with ESPN since 1995, and has hosted a number of ESPN's studio shows across a variety of sports.
"Chris Fowler was instrumental in building College GameDay into an award-winning and iconic program that transcends sports with its excellence, relevance and influence on the public discourse," said ESPN executive vice president John Wildhack. "With Rece on board, we know College GameDay will remain the show of record for college football fans."
Fowler spoke with Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch before the 2014 season, and he didn't seem to think serving as GameDay host, as well as play-by-play, was a long-term situation:
"There is no way I perceive it being a long-term thing," Fowler said. "I view everything either year by year or even week by week. I'm pretty good at staying micro. Management's job is to look longer term. An announcer's job is to look at the next assignment and do it well. I want to see if I am enjoying GameDay and if it is not too busy."
Fowler will continue his Saturday night play-by-play duties for football, in addition to hosting the Heisman Trophy presentation and working the grand slam tennis events for ESPN.
"I am truly proud and gratified to have hosted College GameDay for the past 25 years, from the humble early days in the studio to its present place on the sports TV landscape," Fowler said in a statement.
"In choosing to shift my focus to play-by-play for Saturday Night Football, the College Football Playoff, and the biggest tennis events year-round, it was important to me that GameDay be left in excellent hands. It certainly will be with someone as talented and dedicated as Rece Davis."