Outside The Lines host, SportsCenter anchor, Soccer commentator
Bob Ley, who joined ESPN on the network's third day of existence (September 9, 1979), is co-anchor of ESPN's Sunday morning block of sports/news programming (9 a.m.-noon ET). He also spearheads SportsCenter's aggressive coverage of breaking news stories and issues, and hosts ESPN's monthly and weekly Outside the Lines series, which focus on issues beyond the playing field. He had also served as co-anchor of the 6 p.m. weeknight SportsCenter, the network's sports news program.
With Ley as host, the original monthly Outside the Lines series has captured eight Sports Emmy Awards for Sports Journalism and three CableACE Awards for Sports Information Series. SportsCenter has received six Sports Emmys and two CableACE Awards. Ley has also hosted two ESPN Town Meetings, including Race & Sports: Running in Place?, a live national television discussion on the issue of race in sports by panelists that included President Bill Clinton. Ley's efforts earned him Northeastern's 1995 Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from the University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, together with the University's School of Journalism.
Additionally, the monthly Outside the Lines won New York Festival Gold (Sports/Recreation) and Silver World Medals (Sports behind Bars) in 2001, and a Gold World Medal (Sports/Recreation) in 2002. In 2000, Outside the Lines received third place recognition in the Social Issues, Documentary and Sports categories at the International Film and Video Festival.
Ley, who handles play-by-play for ABC & ESPN's coverage of World Cup soccer games (including serving as the lead commentator for World Cup '98), received the Honorary All-America Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for his contributions to the sport in January 1999.
Equally at home in the studio and in the field, Ley brings a relaxed, smooth style to his varied assignments. He hosted the 11:30 p.m. SportsCenter (August 1988-March 1992) and the network's NFL Draft coverage (1980-89). He also hosted ESPN's NCAA basketball tournament studio show (1980-89) which perfected the "whip-around" format that helped to raise the tournament to its current status.
Ley has also taken viewers through major events: led ESPN's coverage of Pete Rose's suspension by Bart Giamatti; provided the first national news coverage of the earthquake live from Candlestick Park in San Francisco at the 1989 World Series; put a sports perspective on the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks as SportsCenter anchor from 6 p.m.-midnight when ESPN returned to the air. He has also covered several NCAA basketball Final Fours, hosted live special events for ESPN, and done play-by-play commentary for college basketball, boxing, soccer and CBA basketball.
A 1976 magna cum laude graduate of Seton Hall University with a bachelor of arts degree in communications, Ley joined Suburban Cablevision (East Orange, N.J.) as Director of Sports/Public Affairs in September 1976,. During his three years there (1976-79), Suburban Cablevision won four local CableACE Awards for both sports and overall programming.
While an undergraduate, Ley was a production manager at WOR-AM in New York (1975-77). He has served as public address announcer for the Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, and as a sportswriter for the Passaic (N.J.) Herald-News.
Ley, born March 16, 1955, was valedictorian at Bloomfield (N.J.) High School, class of 1972, and was inducted into the Bloomfield Athletic Hall of Fame for his contributions to sports journalism in May 1987. He is married and has two children.