The BOSS Podcast (The Business Of Southern Sports)

Rece Davis - ESPN Host of College Football Gameday and College Basketball Gameday

May 05, 2020 Roger Manis
The BOSS Podcast (The Business Of Southern Sports)
Rece Davis - ESPN Host of College Football Gameday and College Basketball Gameday
Chapters
00:00:00
Welcome, and Rece discusses family life during pandemic
00:04:30
Memory Lane
00:07:50
Muscle Shoals and Fame Studios
00:08:32
Muscle Shoals Documentary
00:11:30
Responding to perceived on-air bias
00:14:49
Early career stops - Tuscaloosa, AL, Columbus, GA, and Flint, MI
00:20:24
Relationship with his wife, Leigh
00:26:01
The Jump to ESPN, and early days at ESPN2
00:29:45
Sportscenter, and who is greatest Sportscenter anchor?
00:34:31
College Gameday
00:44:44
What will Gameday look like if there are no fans due to pandemic?
00:46:40
How are Gameday locations selected?
00:49:51
Weekly routine and show prep
00:56:15
TV Trivia and The Andy Griffith Show
01:01:47
Ernest T. Bass Impression
01:02:47
What will college football look like in 2020 due to pandemic?
The BOSS Podcast (The Business Of Southern Sports)
Rece Davis - ESPN Host of College Football Gameday and College Basketball Gameday
May 05, 2020
Roger Manis

Rece Davis is the host of ESPN's College Football and College Basketball Gameday shows. We will talk to him about his career path, the state of college football during the pandemic, and we'll throw in some pop culture and TV trivia for good measure. He'll take us behind the scenes at Gameday with info about how they select which campus they choose to visit each week, what his normal show prep work requires, and just how he and his on-air teammates get along. For added measure, we'll get his thoughts on the Sportscenter franchise at ESPN, and who he considers to be the greatest Sportscenter anchor of all time.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Rece Davis is the host of ESPN's College Football and College Basketball Gameday shows. We will talk to him about his career path, the state of college football during the pandemic, and we'll throw in some pop culture and TV trivia for good measure. He'll take us behind the scenes at Gameday with info about how they select which campus they choose to visit each week, what his normal show prep work requires, and just how he and his on-air teammates get along. For added measure, we'll get his thoughts on the Sportscenter franchise at ESPN, and who he considers to be the greatest Sportscenter anchor of all time.

Rece Davis:

Hi there. I'm Roger Manis. Welcome to the boss podcast. If you're looking for Bruce Springsteen, this is not the show for you even though we love him too, but this is the Business of Southern sports. The boss is an acronym. Our guest today will be Rece Davis, the host of ESPN college football game day. Now you might feel like you are listening into a personal phone conversation because Rece and I are old friends. I've known him over 30 years. I was in his wedding. We started our careers together in small market television. We're former roommates way back when, so while we are discussing serious things, we will sometimes delve into the silly, you'll hear pop culture references from the TV show, the black list to the fame recording studios and Rece's hometown of muscle Shoals, Alabama. We'll discuss Rece's love life, how he met his wife, but we will also discuss the serious who does Rece think is the greatest sports center anchor of all time.

Rece Davis:

We will touch on that. We will chart his career path. How did he find his way to being the host of ESPN college football game day. And later on we'll even do some television trivia. Rece is a huge fan as am I of the Andy Griffith show. I think you will be impressed by Rece's volume of knowledge for that show in particular. So please bear with us. Enjoy the show. It's a great conversation between two old friends, but uh, you'll also learn a lot because there's a lot going on in his ESPN conversations and college football game day about how they select the, the city, the campus, they want to go to his, his weekly preparation. That's where we will be discussing the Business of Southern sports. But we're also having a lot of fun along the way. So thanks for tuning in. It's time for the show. Let's go.

Speaker 2:

Broadcasting from our studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for the Business of Southern sports or as we like to call it, the Boss. The boss is presented by dirty girl mixers. Get your mix fix and by Rec Tec grills, join the rec tech lifestyle. Now here's the host of the Boss, Roger Manis.

Rece Davis:

How about a big round of applause for our fictional house band that's Herschel and the Heisman that comes in under budget because that has royalty free music here on the boss podcast or the Business of Southern sports. And our guest today really needs no introduction. Uh, he is a very well known talent at the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN and it's Rece Davis. How are you doing race? I'm doing great buddy. How are you? I am fantastic. Just trying to do like everybody else. Stay safe through the pandemic. Uh, you are coming to us from your house in Connecticut via zoom. So the connection here is through the interwebs as we say. How are you and your family doing through this, uh, unusual worldwide situation? We're doing great. We feel very blessed and fortunate. Both of my kids

Rece Davis:

are home and finishing up their semesters in college online as everyone else in college in the country's doing. But everybody's healthy. And, uh, you know, we would, we would like to have a little more normalcy, but at the same time when, uh, you know, my kids are 22 and 19 to be able to have them at home in this setting, uh, we don't wish that on them because I know that's not the way life is supposed to go right now. But at the same time we counted as a blessing because this is time that we have together as a family unit that is unusual and we're trying to try and to enjoy it and appreciate that aspect of it as best we can while still trying to stay safe and, and, um, help out people who might need it as a, as those opportunities come along

Rece Davis:

based on their ages. You are not involved in any homeschooling, I would assume?

Rece Davis:

No, not at all. Uh, my, my lack of academic expertise would keep me from doing, doing anything with Princeton university or New York university. I think they would run me out on rails. They don't even allow me in the same room and not, not the kids. They'd be happy with it. The two universities have asked that I not even get close to the zoom computer because for fear that I will,

Rece Davis:

well, I do want to tell our listeners that, uh, this may seem like a very informal conversation as opposed to a traditional Q and a podcast that seems, uh, almost like an interview. It's very conversational. Recent. I have known each other 30 years. Rece is,

Rece Davis:

yeah, a little bit more because I moved to, I moved to Columbus, Georgia in August of 1988 and so I would say, well, we met each other then and then probably what we were roommates probably year and a half after that. A year, year and a half, something like that. Maybe not even that long.

Rece Davis:

Yeah. We, we, I often tell people, um, we were roommates in small market television together right out of college. Um, and it was a great town. We were in Columbus, Georgia. I loved Columbus. It was great people to work with. We worked at a station that did not have a lot of resources, but we were, we were, we were on television every night having fun. Um, kind of going down memory lane, but because of that, you may hear me refer to recess RD because that has been his, I've had that nickname for him forever and sometimes I hear Desmond Howard use it or Kirk Herbstreit and I'm like, they got it from me. It's so, it's so clever and insightful. However, did you think of it as when you can't, you can't, you can't have it can have a party without R D or whatever. But I often tell people, because I've known you so long, I'll say I've known Rece Davis since he was making $10,000 a year and he's not making that anymore.

Rece Davis:

You know, as, as the great Raymond Reddington says, I never tire of being correct.

Rece Davis:

Raymond Reddington blacklist. Oh, absolutely. Well, we may go into some TB trivia here later, but, but first I want to, because the premise of the podcast here is Business of Southern sports, but Business to me can be the dollars. It can be the deals, it can be the draft picks, but it can also be what play some offensive coordinator calls on third and seven because it's all Business. Tell us, tell folks a little bit about your background, uh, up in the muscle Shoals area of Alabama.

Rece Davis:

Uh, you know, I mean, it's a great place to grow up, Raj. I mean, it's a, it's a place that's important to me and, but we live in several small towns and Northwest Alabama, my parents were from there, even though I was born in Chicago. My dad was a machinist and he was working, uh, in Chicago because at that time in the mid sixties, you know, people had to go North many times to find work and they would kind of going back and forth. So when I was, uh, you know, and that was probably four or five years old, we moved back South for good. And, uh, so I grew up in three small towns in gewen and Hamilton and then in a muscle Shoals. And you know, just sort of along the way fell in love, not only with sports, I tell people, people ask me because of what I do.

Rece Davis:

Did you, you know, do you play in college? And I said, no. I always thought that my broadcasting career would come at the end of a long and illustrious playing career that didn't work out because my talent ran out after high school, although all of my high school teammates would tell you that it ran out of Hong Kong before then. So, you know, but it's, it was, um, I have sort of a traditional probably traditional Southern background in terms of that, like you were saying, uh, you know, church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and then close knit communities and people who, um, who, you know, cared a lot about each other and the place where they live. So it's a, you know, it's something that I'm proud of and I think has helped mold me into the type of person that I try to be.

Rece Davis:

Well, two things strike me from that comment. Um, and another thing about recent, I, you will find us getting off on tangent sometimes to drop in a pop culture reference because as we all know, race, muscle Shoals has got the Swampers,

Rece Davis:

they've been known to pick a song or two or they get so much pick me up when I'm feeling blue. Everybody's seen all of the people listen to your podcasts. They need, they need to see the documentary muscle Shoals. It's the hip recording capital of the world. And I don't say that with one ounce of sarcasm or facetiousness, it's, uh, it is vitally important in the history of music and it's still thriving today. In fact, one of my high school teammates and classmates is a man named Rodney hall. And Rodney is the legendary Rick Hall's son. And Rodney now runs fame recording studios and we stay in touch. And, um, you know, so that's, if you like music and you know, I think the biggest misconception is a lot of people that I've worked with watch the documentary, I press sort of, you know, pushed it, you know, you should watch this. They all expected to see country music. There's no country music, there's no country music and muscle children. Not that they couldn't have done it, but it's all, it's a different genre is more, you know, rhythm and blues and um, and early rock and roll. And then one of the other studios branched off and did some Southern rock. So the first word is cloaking on the documentary if memory serves by bond. Right. I think that's,

Rece Davis:

well I have seen the documentary. I do not recall that. But, uh, what strikes me is like when a man loves a woman by Percy sledge was recorded there, Duane Allman was there. The Swampers of course refers to the house band. Uh, and the, the line that Rece just quoted is from sweet home Alabama by Leonard Skinner. Um, they've been known to pick a song or two, but uh, this is where if we had a budget, we would insert clips from that song. But again, this is, this is a royalty free podcast.

Rece Davis:

Can we just say the sloppers were a group of studio musicians in muscle show, right? It's a, there was a famous story that I think is covered in the documentary and perhaps in my hearing and memory and retelling of it, perhaps I'm embellishing to some degree, but, um, you know, it was just normal looking guys and read the Franklin was in muscle Shoals to record and she didn't think that they would work. And she said to Rick hall, she said, I don't think I can work with those musicians. And he, and I hope I'm not telling the story wrong by him, just roll with it and find out the real one by Google or something. But, uh, you know, as I recall the story, he said, recall, said to her, we'll just listen. If you're not pleased, we'll get you any you want. And she listened for about two minutes and said, let's roll. Let's make a record. And they, and they did. So it was pretty cool.

Rece Davis:

Yeah. It's, uh, it's just known for its sound and some of that is just, uh, you know, you know me well. I'm a big Elvis Presley fan and Southern music. It's just the crossroads of gospel and rhythm and blues and country and Western and rock and some studios kind of captured that magic and Memphis muscle Shoals, um, you know, all, all sorts of genres of music come out of the South and, uh, the fame recording studios. Yeah. W I didn't even mean to get up on that tangent, discuss that studio, but that's where you're from. And it's like the music, the music is in the earth. It's like just seeps into the communities and people's souls and manifest itself in great little holes in the wall like that. And uh, but yeah, it's um, so you had an appreciation for music and sports growing up based on where you were off to the university of Alabama because of your position on game day. I would imagine you get a little bit of blow back every now and then. Um, when y'all are commenting on this program or that program because of Alabama's incredible success over the last, well all time technically, but specific, specific, clearly under Saban here we know what kind of negativity do you get from people who might question your objectivity. At this point

Rece Davis:

you, you get it every now and then. Um, you know, it's, it's kind of funny, right? You get it both ways. You can't, you might as well be honest because I will get a lot of how come you don't rep us the way this broadcaster that broadcaster might rep his school, you know, giving them shout outs and you know, saying roll tide all the time, let it be known that you're, you know, a big fan of whatever. And then the other side, if you ever do say anything good, which you know, is pretty easy to do with the success they've had, then it's what you're referring to. You're a Homer, you know, you don't like this school, you don't like that school, whatever it might be. But you know, probably probably Joe Buck has it best and I think he still has it in his Twitter bio, you know? Yes, I hate your team.

Rece Davis:

But the thing I've come to realize Raj and I try not to let it bother me. I think it used to a little bit more when I was younger. By the time I got the game day, I'd sort of gotten over it. Um, I came to the realization a few years ago that nobody is without a background. Nobody is without a connection to a team or a school or a city. Depending on what you cover, everyone has a connection. But if you do what we do for a living, you are called upon to be fair. You're not called upon to be, I am a robot. I have forgotten all that happened in my past that you know, you're not calling them to do that. You're called on to beat fare. Fans are only called on to evaluate what you say through the prism of how does that line up with the way that I think about my team and how does that line up with the way that I think everybody ought to above my school or my team?

Rece Davis:

Well, that's inherently going to clash from time to time. So, you know, I'm not saying I ignore all of it because I probably have a little bit of a tendency to want everybody to like me if possible. That's impossible. But you know, we all, we all want that. I think most of us do. Who wouldn't like you race? Well, I'll just check my Twitter feed after game day. You'll find a few. Uh, but, um, you know, I think the thing is, is you try to be fair and as long as you can come out of a show or out of a game that you call it the end, you're like, I was fair. I was fair to the best of my ability. That's, that's it. And the other thing is, unlike Desmond or Kirk or David or, uh, someone who, you know, you go, let's, uh, we'll find a Wella, someone who had a great rear, um, and has an obvious attachment to a school from a performance standpoint, people do care about their backgrounds.

Rece Davis:

I don't think people care where I went to school that now maybe they care enough to be able to get mad at me if I say things like, I'd say like, I believe this dynasty that Saban has established as the greatest in the history of the sport. You know people that you know, if they're not Alabama people, they get mad about that. But I think that's fair and honest. I wasn't explaining why they should be winning games from my childhood. It was the head coach, you know? I think I was pretty fair then to tell people what you did. So out of college, first job was Columbus, Georgia, which is where we met a CBS

Rece Davis:

affiliate. You worked there for a few years. Where was your next stop? How did you, how did you, how did you get to where you are?

Rece Davis:

I had one before that I was working in Tuscaloosa. That's right. But I was, they had given me a choice. I was doing sports and news and Tuscaloosa my senior year of college and they gave me a choice. General manager called me in and said, we like your work, but here's the deal. Because it was, you know, it was Alabama. They already had three full time sports guys and I was kind of backing in the fourth. He goes, you can continue to work sports. Do you know Alabama games on Saturday, maybe Friday night, high school football. We're gonna limit you to about, um, five, five to 10 hours a week max. And some weeks we'll try not to get you any or you can work 40 hours a week with the potential for overtime, but you're going to be a neutral court. So I did, I did that.

Rece Davis:

And the move to Columbus was an opportunity to do some sports. As you remember when we started, I wasn't even anchoring the weekend shows you and Mike salmon, uh, had those on lockdown. Um, so I was doing sports and news. I was doing I think three days a week of news and weekend. I was helping you guys with sports. So after I left Columbus, um, I went to Flint, Michigan man named Jim Blicher, who was the general manager of the ABC affiliate in Flint. I refer to him as the man who saved my career. My career was going nowhere in Columbus. Um, you were far too kind about the conditions under which we worked. We worked with wonderful people, um, and, and some talented people and now our newsroom for sure. But there were some, uh, as, as the great George Clooney, you Ulysses Everett McGill, um, says, yeah, we said we had straightened circumstances that was about to lead us on a life of aimless wandering, uh, before, you know, it was, it was a place to do news and, um, but I, I had a becomes forced director there after you two guys have moved on and I was sending out tape after tape after tape and finally Jim hired me in Flint, Michigan.

Rece Davis:

And it was, it was the biggest, I guess the biggest break would have to be when ESPN hired me from Flint. But I'll tell you what, that was a close second because I think if that didn't happen, uh, I don't think that any of the other things would have happened. So I was only in Flint for 16 months. And I know people know Roger and me and the Netflix documentary, Flint town maybe, and they know how, uh, difficult times are there and how desolate it is. And it's tough and it's, and there's a lot of crime and all those things are true. But, uh, I have a great and deep affinity for that city and for those people there because I, as I said, I think Jim saved my career and so I'm eternally grateful to him for that.

Rece Davis:

Uh, where is Jim these days? Have you stayed in touch with him?

Rece Davis:

Yeah, yeah, he's, uh, he's retired.

Rece Davis:

He, um, he worked at and in fact, right and not to bore you with all this health is not too boring for your listeners, but right as I was only in flight for 16 months, got the job at ESPN and just as I was, I remember I'd already turned in my notice. I was on my way and they had a big station meeting to say it kept cities had bought our station WJ RT, which means that subsequently within a year or two, Disney also owned the station where I've worked previously and it had Palm DSPs. Um, so until Disney sold that station, Jim worked there and he worked for a little while in South Carolina, but he's moved back to MidMichigan. He's retired, probably doing some consulting work. And whenever game day goes to Michigan or Michigan state, even though he's in Indiana alum, he and a couple of the couple of the fellows from the station are usually come to the show and I get to get to visit with them.

Rece Davis:

It's always bright. So they're there. They're great friends. And I may, I'll tell you the other people I keep in touch with them. They're high school basketball. Think about this right area. Huge. When I was there, Flint Northern, who eventually won the state championship a month or so after I left Mateen cleaves, Roberto bear Smith who played me NFL, Antonio Smith, who was also a starter on Michigan state's national championship team all on Flint Northern. And they had another great score that no one will remember. But, um, he played college ball and he was tremendous score. He had, he, he ran into some issues but named Beyonce Harvey over at Flint, Northwestern, Mo, Pete Southwestern, Charlie bell. I mean some ball being played there. And I've maintained contact with those guys. In fact, I saw Morris, um, just a few months ago when we were at Michigan state with this dude for a while.

Rece Davis:

And it's a, uh, it's been, it's, it's, uh, like I said for such a short period of time, I sort of a chuckle at myself sometimes the affinity that I have for that 16 month period in my life. Well some of it just outside looking in, being your friend all these years, it was a fresh start. You had some resources around you, you were polishing your craft, you were getting reps as you know, you're on the air every night and getting reps. Um, cause we both grew up. Uh, you know, we had Southern accents. I still do, but you have really polished yours. Um, I don't, I don't, it's to me when I watch you on TV now it's, you have a non discernible accent. Um, and, and so some of that is just the craft of polishing who you were. Um, one of the most impressive things you were able to do was you had just gotten married to a Colombia and she followed you to Flint, Michigan. God bless her.

Rece Davis:

You want to know what true love is? I'd say about six weeks before the wedding that you're leaving your hometown. And even though I sort of took a couple of jabs and fun ones about the straightened circumstances under what you and I were,

Rece Davis:

Oh, I'm sorry. I need to go back and re and reference credit. Everything that was from Oh brother. Oh brother. Where art thou starring George Clooney. Because as I mentioned, recent, I will digress into pop culture. So go ahead. I forgot to reference that a minute ago. Go ahead.

Rece Davis:

Um,

Rece Davis:

but my wife was the top salesperson at channel three in Columbus. Georgia was probably the best job she ever had. She was so good at her job. She was making more money than the general manager. I mean, she kept the whole place afloat. We had after you left, this is true. We ran out of news cards. We were all taking our own cars, no insurance, no nothing other than our personal, which probably wouldn't have covered it if there had been an issue. You know, we were, it was a disaster. And she fixed that. She was able to get a deal to get it. She's believable there and she should have been. But um, you know, it was a great job for her. It was her hometown, her family was there, her dad had Business there, you know, that's what she knew. And so six weeks unlike, I've got to do this, you know, will you come with me? And she thankfully, luckily for me, um, she did and she, she's been, um, unbelievable throughout. So it's been been great. She keeps me, he keeps me grounded, keeps me in line, keeps my head from getting too fat, all that kind of all these years later, two kids later, she's still right there with you. God bless her.

Rece Davis:

Okay.

Rece Davis:

And I remember when you w as I recall when you met Lee, there was a little bit of subterfuge regarding the fax machine to foster foster an introduction, correct?

Rece Davis:

I did. I pretended I had to fax some credential request, our great friend David House over at Auburn for a game. And so she was the new new sales person in the office. And I've really thought she was beautiful because she is, I wanted to meet her and uh, I know that comes as a big surprise to you Raj. So I pretended, I pretended not to know how to use it. You're just lucky I backed off and let you have. So I uh, I want, I waited until I knew she was still there but nobody else could be around to help me. So I went to the fax machine, Hey, do you know how I can't quite figure this out. And she came over and uh, showed me how to use back machine and, and what

Rece Davis:

I was going to say. So all your kids out there listening that want to get to ESPN. We're, we're trying to kind of track Rece's career here, a little bit of bouncing around from local market to local market, but if you want to get married, I was going to say you some fax machines, subterfuge, but they don't know what fax machines are.

Rece Davis:

You're doing all of these things with the pop culture represent wait a minute, that's the my brother where art though, you really should stop and have a definition of a fax machine here depending on how old your audience.

Rece Davis:

Uh, well, um, that's true. Interesting times. We had so much fun there. And as I recall, I was also instrumental in your relationship building because at the time, as a side little gig, I used to perform at a local watering hole called Muldoon's with the Sandy Creek band. Um, and, and uh, do a little Elvis do a little van Morrison. And as I recall, the spark of romance happened while the Sandy Creek band and Roger were performing and, and recently might've been an attendance.

Rece Davis:

I, I don't know that. Uh, and then she's gonna walk by in a minute. I don't know if I've ever told this story publicly because I was not aware of it. Maybe, maybe until after we were married. I don't know. But you were singing. So when I finished my show or whatever, however the schedule was, I came to see you sing, right? So you were there singing and I finished the show or whatever and I was coming to see you sing, you know, hanging out and then we, you know, go grab a bite to eat or whatever. So apparently I find out years later that Lee was on a date there. She sees, she sees me, she sees me come in, but I don't see her. So she tells, she tells humping the calm person, whoever it was she was on the date with the loser. Loser. Yeah, exactly. She tells him she's not feeling well and needs to go home. So she leaves ditches hen and then comes back.

Rece Davis:

Oh Chelsea, can she come back to see you or did she come back for our final set?

Rece Davis:

Uh, she was unaware. You were seeing, she came back to see me

Rece Davis:

cause we used to rock the house at Muldoon's

Rece Davis:

target. Are we right,

Rece Davis:

but, well let's, let's do, get back to the Business of Southern sports.

Rece Davis:

You are, but I wouldn't say your regular Dan Lebatard because that was on Dan Lebatard show. And somehow one day I started talking about, uh, I wound up talking about crawling under my house as a kid and spraying Cora Dane, which is now illegal to kill all the bugs and snakes won't cross the line

Rece Davis:

and some and some brain cells and some brain cells probably

Rece Davis:

with all the bugs we have in Connecticut. I wish somebody got some coordinating they could send me the spray of, I wouldn't get in trouble with Johnny law. I'd like to spray some kill some of these bumps.

Rece Davis:

Well, it is funny getting back on track here. So after Flint, Michigan, I remember again, you were starting to get some interest from other, you know, major pro pro sports markets as I recall, Cincinnati was interested in you and, and uh, Andrea Kramer, uh, gave you some advice that helped you with ESPN. Is this correct?

Rece Davis:

Yeah. Andrea Kirby. Uh, Andrea. Yeah, Andrea Kirby, um, was used to being on air person, ABC, uh, for many years. She's an alumnus at Alabama. Um, she and my wife actually were instrumental in getting me there because, you know, like you mentioned, there were several other markets, had some opportunities. Um, and you know, Lee said, my wife said to him, where do you want to go? So we want to go to ESPN? And she said, well, let's try to do that. So in the meantime, I ran across Andrew's name and an alumni publication. I reached out to her because she at the time was a talent coach and consultant for ESPN. And so I reached out to her and she looked at my tape basically as a favor since I went to Alabama. She did and said, um, she calls me and said, why haven't you sent this?

Rece Davis:

And I said, well, you know, I'm in market, you know, 58 or whatever. We were in Flint right now. I assumed that, you know, I had to get to Atlanta or Chicago or Boston or something, no for ESPN, take notes. And she said, you have this screwed up beyond imagination. And I said, what do you mean? And remember when this was, this was 1990, I guess 94 cause I started in 95, so it was late 94. And she said, if you ever get to Boston or LA or Miami or Atlanta or someplace, she said, you'll never go to ESPN. I said, why not? And she said, you won't take the pay cut, you know, so at the time, you know, at the time, local was where it was at in terms of financially and she said, send the tape. So I sent it and it, uh, it worked out.

Rece Davis:

So both of them were instrumental in sort of, um, guiding me. And it's one of the reasons I try to, if people reach out to me and you can't always hit every one of them, I'm no doc Emrick who seems to be able to respond to everybody that reaches out. But the people who want to make it, I try to guide them because I felt like that I was, you know, just kind of reaching in the dark and, you know, trying to run into some thing and figure out how to do it. And, uh, I was probably fortunate that it worked out the way it did, but um, certainly Andrea, Andrea w and her advice was huge and I think, uh, lead just encouraging me to, to focus on what I wanted and instead of, you know, bouncing gear in there and you know, where it might be and trying to hopscotch your way up the ladder.

Rece Davis:

And one of the things that's interesting to me, again from my recollection, so I'll ask you to make sure I'm corroborating this correctly, is when ESPN hygiene, because it's been 25 years ago now, people may not remember this. I distinctly remember ESPN two was launched with a totally separate and distinct brand and vibe and they wanted to keep the two brands separate. In fact, as I recall, ESPN sports center was supposed to be a little more straight laced suit and ties. But you guys on ESPN too, we're not supposed to wear jackets. Your shirts were supposed to be colorful, that type of vibe. Am I remembering that correctly? And then after a few months they just realized, well, we've got too many live events. The brand is going to be the brand and everything just started cross pollinization and they just just ran with it.

Rece Davis:

Yeah, it, I mean that, this is one of the things Roger, that I listened to closely when I was hired, I was told do not come in asking to do sports center. Uh, because we are doing, just as you said, trying to create these different brands. If you, you know, the, the whole, it's sort of silly to think about it now, but if you wore a jacket, don't wear a tie. If you wear a tie, don't wear a jacket and denim is good, weather's better. You know, I never went full Keith Olbermann leather jacket, but you know, there was some denim involved. Um, so we got to a point where the show that I started doing the sports smash on sports smash updates at the top and the bottom of the hour as part of the old sports night show that Stuart Scott and Suzy Kolber, uh, hosted.

Rece Davis:

Kenny Mayne was a part of the sports smashed with me and we, the two of us, a couple others would, would do bits and pieces and features and different things for sports. Now they took that show off the air because of what you're saying. But I was still following my instructions of don't ask, you know, don't, don't go out to do sports center. And to make a very long story short, it almost got me bounced out of there before I started. I finally had to go to basically every executive in the building and find out why they were questioning whether to pick up the option of my contract after one year. And there's a, well, we just don't know what to do with you. I said to our president, Howard Katz, who's now in the NFL, he said, well, you know, when I eventually got to him, because you know, the show's not there and we don't know if we're gonna do the smash.

Rece Davis:

And I said, uh, I said, Howard, I said, I want to do sports center. I said, but I was told not to ask to do sport center. And he said, well, you know, if they want to give you shots for fortunate, that'd be great with me. And I said, well, nobody comes here to do the sports smash. You're just hoping to keep your head down and keep grinding and get noticed. And it didn't work out that way. And then fortunately for me, they gave me a shot to do sports center and it went well for a couple of times and uh, and they gave me a chance. And it's, um, you know, a story that I like to tell because I, I, I think the best, the best guy all told all facets. There are a lot of great sports in our anchors, a lot of influential ones.

Rece Davis:

I think the guy who did it better in all facets was Keith Olbermann. Um, and after my first sports center, 2:00 AM sports center on a Saturday night, I came back up to my desk and, you know, the message light was on, you know, I had a message from somebody and, uh, remember I had no relationship whatsoever with Keith. I'd met him, uh, and I'd seen him around. I talked to him the day I was hired when the lady was taking, taken around, showing me where we got our mail. She introduced me and Keith looked at me and said, Ron, there's still time to save your career. And turned and walked away. That was like, I hadn't said one more on ESPN. So, you know, fast forward nine, 10 months later, I get a chance to do sports center and the message lights on. I figure it's, you know, my wife or my mom or my sister or whatever.

Rece Davis:

And I pick up both messages from ki. And, uh, he said, uh, he said, I watched your show. I assume that you want to be part of this rotation. I'll make sure they know that on Monday morning. Oh, this is K O quick. I've never had a conversation with him and that I had such respect for his ability, Roger, that that validation, uh, gave me a little more confidence. And then it were, I, I don't know, to this day, I've never asked Keith if he actually did go in and say, Hey, he needs to be in the rotation. And if he, you know, because Keith sometimes as you might have read, can get a little contentious with management. So I don't know that that would have helped her. It would have hurt. But, um, I don't know to this day if he did it or, but the fact that that was way he reacted, uh, meant a lot to me.

Rece Davis:

And I'm happy to still call, call Keith the friend after all of these years. And I do, and I'm not saying it because he was kind to me. There've been, I've worked with, you know, unbelievable guys anchoring that show. Dan Patrick boomer, Scott van pelt, Stewart, all magnificent, all magnificent in their own way. And you're splitting hairs. But to me, from my taste and just funny, insightful ad-lib pick up on anything, capture a moment. You know, riding is unbelievable. You know, a key I think is, is the guy to me that I would, you know, certainly I hate the Mount Rushmore thing, but if you put him out there, he is, his face is right up there at the top.

Rece Davis:

Was that it dawned on you that if he was leaving you a message at two or three in the morning on a Saturday night, he was probably drinking. And that might have been most as opinion of your performance job. And what's interesting, again, for anybody that's too young to remember this, the sports center is still a key franchise for ESPN, but in the, since the internet of the last 1520 years, you know, so so much information gets to people so quickly now, sports center used to be, must see TV. It was huge. A big franchise obviously still is, but much bigger in the nineties simply because of it was the source of information. It's where we had to go to see highlights and it's where we had to go to get breaking news and things like that. So I understand, just to put it in perspective, the desire for every ESPN talent to want to get on a sports center was big back then. Um, but you are now the face of arguably their biggest franchise in, in my humble opinion, being from college football country, the game day shows both basketball and football. Um, and I know you bounced around inside ESPN doing some NASCAR things NASCAR tonight and you did the late night, uh, college football show with Martin Mae and Lou Holtz and, and just, you know, was a solid star in the making all this time. Um, how did the game day situation unfold, uh, to come into you to come your way?

Rece Davis:

Um, you know, I think I'd established my place in the sport through that time in the studio. Um, I was there, I kind of lose count that, I mean full time. Uh, I was probably the studio sort of in the nerve center command central for college football for about 16 years I think, uh, prior to, um, prior to taking game day 10 of those with Mark and Lou for the last 10. And, you know, Mark and I were working 14 years together in the studio. Um, so I thought I had established a place in the sport, Roger. And, uh, you know, it was what I wanted, you know, um, wanting to be at one of the most prominent possible that was available in the sport when it came time to negotiate a new deal. And, um, uh, it was a situation where I think timing aligned in a lot of ways.

Rece Davis:

Um, and I had unbelievable representation and a guy who is not only my agent but a very close friend and Nick Khan and he helped guide me through the process. And, you know, we, we got to a point where, you know, okay, you need, you need to lay out a plan for Rece. And, uh, and they did. And that was, uh, that was kinda how it came about the game, the game day aspect of it. Because, you know, there was one year where Chris did both game day in the game on a Saturday night. And that was when I was in the last few months of my deal. We were negotiating. And, um, you know, there are a lot of factors that had to come together for it to go in that direction and, you know, whatever, um, offer and, and situation they could present. And they were, uh, they were everything they told me, which I know you don't hear this a lot in television. Every time they told me everything they told me that last year during the negotiation came to be and it couldn't have, uh, I couldn't have had a negotiation that was handled in a more forthright manner. I credit, uh, credit them for that. Uh, ESPN management, certainly credit Nick for that. Uh, so, you know, it worked out. Um, you know, it worked out really well.

Rece Davis:

Well, and it's, it's a dream chair again, cause I know you so well. You know, growing up loving college football just in our DNA, uh, in fact, as I recall growing up in Northwest Alabama, one of your big heroes was, uh, was Archie Manning. Uh, among others. Uh, you know, we all have the Southern football lower that, you know, listening to radio before our childhoods, you know, listening to the radio of other teams. Not even our team, just to listen to the games before every game was televised. But now you're in the chair. Um, and I know, uh, I know one of your pet peeves is when people call you a traffic cop as the host of that show, you're not a traffic cop. I tell people, you tell me if I'm right or wrong or if this is your pet peeve. I equate your job to that as a, as a basketball point guard, you bring the ball up, you run the offense, you distribute it. But you can take a shot too. Cause you're the point guard and you run the offense and you can throw it the Kirk, you can throw it pilot, coach Corso, Dez, whomever. But you can take a shot cause you're the point guard.

Rece Davis:

Absolutely. It's a point guard quarterback and you understand it Roger, because you're really good at it. You, you know how to do it too. And it's, um, I think the people who are most successful in this role, and it's, you know, it's up to the audience whether they deem you or meet successful, whether they enjoy it, but where my sensibilities, the people who do it well are involved in the conversation, but have a good sensibility of when to, when to take that shot or when to, you know, if you want to keep the football analogy, when to dump it off and when and when to throw and when to throw the skinny post and when to pull it down and run. You know, it's the, it's that sensibility. I think that, look, you're not a hundred percent throw pick sometimes strip sack, fumble turnovers, you know, air balls, whatever metaphor you want to use, it's going to happen from time to time.

Rece Davis:

But it's that sensibility of knowing how to weave all of your guys, all of your people together and to allow them to disagree. Um, no, when, no how to handle the conversation and know when to make those types of points that you're talking about. Um, you know, I'm not gonna argue with David Pollack about proper, uh, proper hand placement swim technique. That's, that's out of my mind. But David and I can argue forever about whether, um, you know, Jake Fromm or Justin Fields should have been in the starting quarterback or whether Kirby should have gone forward on third down or we would probably both agree that he shouldn't have faked upon against Alabama. But other than that, you know, you can argue about things like that for ever. And um, you know, and, and my opinion is just as valid as his and, and those types, that's where you pick your spots, I think. But you do it respectfully. And you also know that in your role as the, as the host, you have to know when, when's enough. You know, you have to know when you take those shots, when do you let it stand, what you said. And that's enough, you know, and maybe sometimes it might appear that you're letting the other guy get the last word in. And maybe that's true sometimes, but I think there's a sensibility that makes it comfortable for people at home. At least, at least that's the goal.

Rece Davis:

Well, and also what the viewer is not aware of. While that's all going on, you've also got producers in your ear telling you that the next story, because you're heavy and time is killed, or we've got to go to this person or that person. You've got 5,000 people behind you yelling and screaming the fans. You've got a variety of weather conditions. And so you've got all this going on, but yet trying to maintain the cohesion and the chemistry on set and you do it flawlessly. That's why you are aware you are. And I'm where I am. You have 10,000 people at your show and I'm sitting in my office here at home doing this shit. I don't

Rece Davis:

say this just because you're my friend. You, you, you could do this. You're, you. You've always been an immensely talented guy on air. And you know, there, there are some aspects of it that repetition helps. But I've also been fortunate in that, um, I, I've had really, really good producers on a game day football and basketball. You know, a guy who's now an executive who's not in the charity more, but did the transition year. And he and I worked together in basketball for a number of years too, was Lee fitting, who with all due respect to all of the producers we've had who are phenomenal now, he was masterful in doing the things that you've talked about. And you know that that helps when you, you know this too, when you have complete confidence, which I also do in our producer now, Jim guy Aero, who's terrific, um, when you have complete confidence in what that guy's telling you, you know, in terms of we gotta kill this, we gotta not kill this.

Rece Davis:

And sometimes Jim and I will argue, you're in the show, you know, Kirk, we'll be talking, he's like, I've got to kill the Oklahoma discussion. And I'm like, no, you can't kill that. You know, and we'll be going back and forth and we can come to an agreement sometimes during the show, you know, and sometimes you have to trust, you know, if he pushes back and says, I can't, you have to get me to break. You know, we're getting close to the top of that. We're going to cross the top. We can't be in breath. You've got, you can't pay me out to like this, then you got to trust him. You know, and, and you also sometimes if there's a breaking story, um, I remember when JT Barrett got in trouble, uh, you know, he went to pick up a teammate or something. He, they were all Ohio state was off that week.

Rece Davis:

He'd had a couple of drinks and he, you know, he got, uh, he got caught at, uh, at uh, one of those check plate checkpoint things or something that broke, like as we were coming on the air and fitting Lee fitting was in the chair then. So I had complete trust in him, our new, uh, complete trust in our news department and they were getting the information to Lee. And this rarely happens, surprisingly rarely happens in sports television. The way we, you see it on the old movie broadcast news where they're telling you and then you have to, you don't just regurgitate it, but they're telling you the information you have to get it out in a coherent manner. That case it was, you know, a few minutes before that JT had gotten, you know, that there've been some issues, Kirk and I had found out from some connections, but we didn't have the tales. I was getting the details in my year as I was saying. And you have to have complete trust in those folks. And I've been very fortunate that I've got great people with me to do that.

Rece Davis:

Well, when all, all while the, the, the zoo of the show is going on around you, the, the noise in the weather and all of that. The, the team of Kurt as Pollock, coach Maria and whomever. It seems like a really good team. So this is just me and you talking. Who's a jerk?

Rece Davis:

We don't, we don't really have any, uh,

Rece Davis:

no, I'm teasing.

Rece Davis:

I know you are, but I think that's one of the things, getting aside this might work. I mean you, you include Rinaldi and Jean Moja housekeeper and Jen Latta and you know, all of the people that are part of the people behind the scenes, we just, if people on the air or off are jerks, they're not lasting on that show. Uh, you know, they will, we'll have a move of off. And so that, that's a, that's very fortunate,

Rece Davis:

right? I'm sure. I mean, it's a fluid situation with the pandemic and um, thanks for getting canceled and they're trying to figure out a way to reschedule. Who knows what college football will look like, but what kind of plans are y'all making? Because your show requires live, live crowd. They're typically for the energy and the enthusiasm and the passion to represent the sport. Are y'all having plans a, B, C, D, E F G being developed right now based on whatever might or might not happen?

Rece Davis:

I'm sure that the executives are, but it hasn't, we've done nothing more than sort of talk about it as a group. What if, and I think where we went and the only correct answer to this, Raj, is, I don't know. You know, that's the only thing because no one does right now. But here's how we've always looked at it is great to have an awesome crowd. I mean it, the energy and the adrenaline that you get from that is second to none and we always want that, but it is not necessary to have a good show, you know, and we, you know, every year we do, um, I think we have to call it something else because of sponsorship deals, speaking of Business of sports. But we do a basically a game day show, new year's morning from inside the Rose bowl. There's nobody there.

Rece Davis:

And a lot of times that those shows foster a lot of great discussion. Now you do, to be fair, you have tangible playoff things to discuss and the Roseville company, so that lends itself to it. Um, but you know, I think we can still put on a great show if there are games play, our preference would obviously be to have that type of atmosphere because it's, uh, it's great for the show. It's part of the fabric of the sport and we don't want to lose that. But obviously that comes secondary behind the health and welfare of people.

Rece Davis:

Speaking of the Business and how you take care of your Business, just run us through, forget pandemic. What's a normal routine game day week for you, of your preparation, your travel, where are you on, what days are you home, when do you get to the city of choice and how are, how are the, how are the locations selected? Um, you know, a week or two out.

Rece Davis:

Okay. It's only, we might have a good idea, but it's never announced until, um, at best Saturday night. Um, you know, before the following week it has pushed in. There've been a couple that have pushed into Monday. I think one, one year, maybe the year we went to Philadelphia to, um, independence hall for Notre Dame temple. That might've pushed into Tuesday because we were figuring things out. But typically it's announced on and decided Saturday night, Sunday morning, sometimes it's a really easy thing to do and a lot of times we're all up and on, uh, usually not a conference call. Sometimes there might be some individual calls, um, among some people, um, management's great about soliciting our input on it, but more times than not, it's a text chain going on. People, you know, a small group of us, uh, presenting our position on it, what we think, um, and then the decision is made and the decision is not always, which do teams are the two highest ranked, the highest ranked matchup.

Rece Davis:

Uh, you try not to look too far down the road, but you can look at something and say, you know, for instance, well, Florida Auburn is a, is a great match up this week, but it looks, you know, we've got Georgia at Auburn in two weeks and this week we probably had something else that's similar. If you know, if it's close, you probably will look ahead a little bit. Not that we're averse to you. We've gone same place twice in a year before we can, we can do that. That's not a big deal, but you, it's sort of a balance of everything. It's a balance of not just the highest ranked teams, but it can be the best story of the week. You know, sometimes a story or something, a story that needs to be told at some point in the season. Like when we'd gone to James Madison, which I've gone to a couple of times, we went to South Dakota state, uh, therefore, um, the North Dakota state game, you know, there are stories like that that you find opportunities to tell the, kind of, break it up a little bit every now and then.

Rece Davis:

Some you try. It's a little bit of a feel thing. Um, and I know some people think it's driven by what network the games are on. It's not, um, you know, from a Business standpoint, if you have, it just makes sense. It's obvious if you have two great games, both are equal, both be great atmospheres and ones on ESPN, rabies, and the other one's not. Well, obviously you're gonna lean to the one that's on your network, but if there's a game that it's this level and you know, and it's on another network, we've shown time and time again, we'll go there. So it's, it's a combination of best story. How's a, as a season layout, where have we been already, where do we think we're likely to be in the next two, three weeks after that? All of those things factor in when we're making the decision on Saturday and understanding more.

Rece Davis:

And what is your personal weekly routine? The beauty of football is it, with the exception of the Thursday night game, but the Saturday schedule is, there's, there's a consistency to it. A weekend week out. What is your normal routine for preparation and when do you arrive and things like that.

Rece Davis:

Well, will you, in terms of preparation, uh, usually the first conversation is about the next week or some brief ones on Saturday after the show at some point in the afternoon. But usually we spend, you know, watching games. I almost always stick around, uh, for the game where we are. Um, by Sunday, you know, we'll start, there will be a, there'll be a pretty good email chain among, uh, the producers, me and Chris Philipa usually Kirk's very involved in that. Also a producer and I will usually have a lengthy conversation on Monday morning, just the two of us kind of laying out what we think things ought to look like. One of the things that I do on Monday morning, sometimes I do it on Sunday night, is I go and review the show, uh, the entire three hours, take notes throughout and send out notes to the group things I liked, things I didn't like, things I think we ought to do better.

Rece Davis:

Um, you know, where we missed the Mark, where we didn't, uh, try to be encouraging why this happened, why did that not happen? Uh, should we think about whatever it could be? Well, there's a, I would say just sort of my nature, there's a lot of attaboys and uh, in my note, but I also, if I don't like something I try to say so and you know, so I send that out usually on Monday morning and then by then everybody reads it. Maybe somebody responds and then by noon on Monday we've kind of moved. We've moved on and um, I describe it, Raj, I don't have a set number of hours or schedule. I just describe it as a lifestyle. You're, you're, you're sort of immersed and engrossed in college football all week, you know, and there'll be, we'll have a conference call on Tuesday among a few of us.

Rece Davis:

Uh, Jim and I have gym guy with producer that we are in constant communication, email, texts, calls, you know, you name it, where we're constantly um, communicating about this. Um, um, I'm talking to the guys a lot, talk to Kirk a lot because Kirk is, Kirk is such a good partner. I'm, I'm very fortunate to have Kirk and bill us and my two shows because they, there's nothing in the sport that will throw them and they're so, uh, they're so good on TV. They're very different personality standpoints and just, uh, the way they view life. But both are, are brilliant guys and tremendous communicators in different ways and great guys, you know, so I'm lucky to have them. And you know, Kirk has a great sensibility because of the years on show and his passion for the sport. So I spent a lot of time in addition to, you know, the producers and for Leeka who's, you know, like an encyclopedia of stuff and it's sort of more that knowledge into his on-air role, which is, you know, really a huge part of our show.

Rece Davis:

So I spent a lot of time, uh, I don't, it's funny, I communicate, it's weird, you know, you find different things that you communicate with different people in different ways. For weekend night email. We don't talk on the phone very often, you know, and usually if we text it's like some kind of joke. Uh, you know, like we're texting jokes but we email about the show. Kirk and I will be text or phone call almost always, you know, and Jim and I are like, I don't know how you'd describe it. It's all of it. So it's kinda all the same. So I'll leave on Thursday, usually Thursday morning, try to get there and do some work on Thursday afternoon, uh, go experience a little bit of what the vibe. So I can town on uh, Thursday nights. Then Friday we'll have a production meeting, usually at nine or nine 30 local time.

Rece Davis:

I spend an hour, an hour and a half. Kirk and I usually have some segments that we have to record for ABC affiliates and for sports center. And then I'd go back and grind. And then usually, um, you know, I don't, I don't go out on Friday nights hardly ever, unless there's some type of appearances or event and it's usually short. And I usually stay in my room and do door dash or room service and, and just kind of go over stuff and watch all, watch every frame of video that's going to be on the show and prepare. We don't do a prompter or anything like that, but I still ride out, um, leads to stories and different things and I don't memorize them, I just write them out. So I kind of have gone through the show and what I'd like to say in my head. And then when the time, when the time comes, then, you know, unless it's particularly sensitive, I know what I want to talk about and then I just try to say it and then, then you just try to capture the energy in the moment, uh, when the shows go

Rece Davis:

well. And that's another impressive thing about this show that people may not know. No teleprompter, no problem. There's no stink in teleprompter. Rece Davis doesn't need no stinking teleprompter.

Rece Davis:

No. The funny thing is, is I think a lot of people in our Business look at that as some type of badge of honor. I look at it more as a practical thing because what I've found over the years is that, you know, analysts rarely use tele, maybe some other networks and ESPN analysts don't use telephones

Rece Davis:

of course, because it's supposed to be off the cuff.

Rece Davis:

Right? And they're talking about what they see in the video and all that kind of stuff. I've found that when analysts, when analysts are in a position where there's something on the screen up there, like a prompter, they're wondering, am I supposed to talk? You know, and it creates a little hesitancy. What's, I think it just makes it more, it just makes it more conversational. So, you know, we, there are times when you'd love to have one man. When it's, when it's a NCAA, um, you know, NCAA case or a legal issue or you know, something very serious. You like to be extraordinarily precise and do it. But, and I think it's, I think it's a fair trade off. Most of us can, can handle it.

Rece Davis:

Well, you, you mentioned some of your preparation. I would encourage people to go follow your social media because occasionally during the season you will post some of that behind the scenes stuff that you're doing that is compelling to the fan of that show and to college football, whether it's your preparation or a segment coming up in the show or just the behind the scenes of the crowds and the security or whatever it is, you know, your golf cart ride to the set, things like that. But that, that's, that's compelling content. Uh, so I would encourage people to go follow you on social media. Well, people also may not know about you as, as we come down, the stretch here is, uh, you're, you're quite an officio natto of some television trivia. Do you recall what we used call

Rece Davis:

when we were rooming together 30 years ago? What we used to call the best hour on television

Rece Davis:

for sure. It was, uh, it was the Andy Griffith show, I think at two Eastern on WGN from Chicago, followed by the Dick van Dyke show, the Dick van Dyke show while good was sort of riding the coattails of the indie group.

Rece Davis:

And as I recall, either before or after it, uh, sometimes if we would, if we had a two hour gap, uh, this might've been more me, but they would also rerun the Charlie's angels. So it was kind of, it was that, well Cheryl ad I was going to watch it. If it was a Sheryl ed episode,

Rece Davis:

who was, who was the best Charlie's angel? I don't mean most attractive. I mean like who is the best Luke?

Rece Davis:

Oh, I think the brains of the outfit was Kate Jackson. The Sabrina Duncan. Yeah.

Rece Davis:

I think, I think he's a product of a, the great state of Alabama.

Rece Davis:

I give it the TV tray. But you mentioned Andy Griffith. So, um, I, I do have, uh, some Andy Griffith trivia that I have looked up here. Some of it. I was doing it off my head and then I went to look it up to confirm it. Um, but, but a recent, I share a love of the Andy Griffith show, uh, in addition to lots of pop culture, you know, race quotes. Oh, brother, where art thou all the time? Cause eight this place. Just a geographical oddity. Exactly. Two weeks from everywhere.

Rece Davis:

You don't, you don't want my son, you want, my son is a history major and it Princeton to finish, you have to write a thesis and it, you know, he wrote his on the political influence of w Lee O'Donnell, who was a Texas governor and uh, and United States Senator from the state of Texas. Fascinating. And it was amazing as he did his research in a different thing for this paper that I can't wait to read the whole thing. The real, it's the real life Papillon

Rece Davis:

happier battle for a mobile other brother Arthur. Yeah,

Rece Davis:

yeah, yeah. It really was. But I digress. You're, you're gonna, you're gonna stump me with Andy Griffith.

Rece Davis:

I actually am not. I tried to go easy on you here, like, uh, and I may not know all the answer to this, but given me and Andy Griffith fans hope you'll know these as well. Give me three of Andy's girlfriends.

Rece Davis:

[inaudible] girlfriends. There was the, I'm going to be very controversial here. There was the, there was the worst girlfriend, which was Helen. Uh, there was, there was the, uh, uh, best girlfriend, which was, uh, Ellie and then, um, uh, peg was also an excellent girlfriend. He probably should have stayed with peg because he and Nellie fought a lot and peg peg came from money. So he made it, he made a dire mistake because Helen,

Rece Davis:

I never quite understood. Helen. Helen seemed a little cold to me and uh, but he eventually the character ended up marrying Helen, um, and nurse Peggy nurse Peggy, by the way, he was played by Joanna Moore, who is a native of Georgia, I believe, who is the mother of in real life. Tatum O'Neal. She was, she was married to Ryan O'Neil. I'm going deep down to the trivia here. Give me a, through the course of the show, Barney Fife had ref that they weren't thinking about reruns at the time, so sometimes their scripts were not, you know, they didn't go back and reference an old script.

Rece Davis:

If you're going to ask, I'm trying to make, go ahead.

Rece Davis:

What are, what are three references to Barney's middle name? Sometimes it was a name. Sometimes it was initial.

Rece Davis:

Well, I know of Bernard [inaudible].

Rece Davis:

That's one. Yes.

Rece Davis:

Ah, you got me on that. I can't remember. I know. I'm going to know when you say it, but I don't, I don't know him.

Rece Davis:

Bernard, Milton Fife and Brandon Bernard. Oliver Fife.

Rece Davis:

I remember that. Bernard Oliver five. I didn't remember Milton, but Bernard. Pete five I think. Was that the most common?

Rece Davis:

Probably, yeah. When he, when they went to the episode where they went out of town and they checked in at the hotel, Barney registered as Barney Fife MD. Andy looked over his shoulder and saw it and said that the desk clerk said, okay, here's your key. Dr Fife and Andy was taken aback. W M. D what did, what did it stand for? According to Barney,

Rece Davis:

maybe our deputy,

Rece Davis:

but I mean you can't write that any better. What were the names of the two fun girls from Mount pilot?

Rece Davis:

Uh, Daphne and script

Rece Davis:

had a boy. Uh, what was the name of Barney's landlady?

Rece Davis:

Before or after he was drunk. This is Mendel bright when he was sober, but then after he'd gotten into the hard side or Hey, ranger comes into town.

Rece Davis:

I thought you were going to try to ask me a tribute question there. Um, what was the name of the man in a hurry? Malcolm Tucker. Boom. You were Excel at this. Did you have a favorite episode or anything?

Rece Davis:

A man. So many great ones. I think the, I think the popular one to say is something that had a secondary meaning like Opie, the Birdman. But basically I think I'll have to take, uh, I'll have to take mountain wedding because I believe that was the first earnesty bass episode, wasn't it?

Rece Davis:

Oh, that's a good question. Um, probably, yeah. A while before we go here.

Rece Davis:

Go out in the woods to look for his tea basket. The festival is fine. You.

Rece Davis:

Um, he's a nut. Um, don't you do an Ernest T impression? Oh no.

Rece Davis:

You know, on an, on an early date. My wife convinced me to do that in the waffle house in some, and by some miracle she decided to stay with me. Anyway,

Rece Davis:

it's me. It's me. It's Ernest T. I, I, I ain't talking, I ain't talking more. You asking more on Balkan, the Andy Griffith show, man, if you haven't checked it out, check it out. It's awesome. Um, well res, thanks for joining us. I've taken up far too much of your time and hopefully we can have you back on later. Um, any, any parting thoughts from Connecticut? Um, any hopes for football season?

Rece Davis:

Uh, hopeful and optimistic, but you don't know yet, so we'll, we'll just wait and see. So hopefully we'll be able to play at some point. It might be modified. Maybe, maybe the crowds will be modified. Maybe the calendar will be modified. But you know, I'm still hopeful that something will allow us to have some type of season this fall. Um, and that's, that's just my hope. I'm not giving you any inside scoop or anything like that. And I don't think anyone knows. But fortunately broadcasters and football coaches won't have a lot to say about that. Went back and we won't have neither group will I have anything to say about it. It'll be leaders and medical professionals and, and doing what's best for the safety of the people.

Rece Davis:

It is, it is interesting to make one final point to have to watch college football coaches not be in total control. Cause you know, they love being in total control of their programs.

Rece Davis:

I mean it's, it's a, it's a new world for them, uh, because they, and I think they exist in a bubble that, you know, we as, as fans and just the whole enterprise and the industry of college football is created and, and it's probably a good object lesson for them and us that while they're great at what they do and they've had tremendous influence on, on many young people in their lives, they don't need to control everything. You know, they're not right about everything, you know, so they're not, they're not the moral arbiters. And you know, the decision makers for all of it's wrong and rights. So it's probably a good recalibration in that respect. But, uh, uh, you know, certainly we're hopeful that they can get back to doing what they do best

Rece Davis:

and if they're back that means you guys will be back and hopefully the crowds will be back by that time cause it's a great show and I'm, uh, you're just a part of the fabric of American culture hosting that show because college football is so deeply ingrained in, in, uh, in sports fandom across this country. So thank you for your time Rece. Um, hopefully we can have you back on, um, sometime later on. I do appreciate it. It's good to always good to see old friends.

Rece Davis:

You bet. Roger, always great to see you buddy.

Rece Davis:

Tell the, tell the wife and kids, rod says, Hey, and I'm going to have Herschel and the Heisman play us out again. That is our fictional house, man. It's just, it's just royalty free because the budget is so low, ladies and gentlemen. Again, that would, that's the money would go to the van Morrison estate if I tried to sing some of that. Uh, but I did sing it at Muldoon's bar 30 years ago, many, many nights. Uh, so again, thanks for listening, RD. Thanks for your time. Appreciate it. And we're going to have Hershel and the Heisman play us out.

Speaker 5:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

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Welcome, and Rece discusses family life during pandemic
Memory Lane
Responding to perceived on-air bias
Early career stops - Tuscaloosa, AL, Columbus, GA, and Flint, MI
Relationship with his wife, Leigh
The Jump to ESPN, and early days at ESPN2
Sportscenter, and who is greatest Sportscenter anchor?
College Gameday
What will Gameday look like if there are no fans due to pandemic?
How are Gameday locations selected?
Weekly routine and show prep
TV Trivia and The Andy Griffith Show
What will college football look like in 2020 due to pandemic?