Lineup change: Davis replaces Fowler as new host of GameDay

After 25 years, there’s going to be a new quarterback on ESPN’s “College Gameday.”

ESPN announced late Thursday that Rece Davis will take over as the new host next year. Chris Fowler, who had been the show’s host since 1990, will focus strictly on his duties as the network’s lead play-by-play voice for college football.

Fowler handled both roles in 2014, working “Gameday” on Saturday morning and then calling a game later in the day. While analyst Kirk Herbstreit does the same double shift, calling a game is considerably more taxing.

Also, Davis was up for a new contract, and the network likely needed to give him a plum role to keep him at ESPN.

John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production, said in a statement: “This agreement reflects our belief that Rece Davis is one of the very best in the industry. He’s established himself as a versatile and polished pro. 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. With Rece on board, we know College GameDay will remain the show of record for college football fans.”

Fowler discussed the change: “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. Traveling the country with Lee, Kirk, Desmond, and the whole GameDay family as we shared Saturday mornings with passionate football fans has been professionally and personally rewarding… and unforgettable fun.

“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. I know viewers will welcome him and I am excited to watch GameDay’s continuing evolution.”

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