Rece Davis Honored for Commitment to Student-Athletes, Sports Information

Jun 18, 2019

Rece Davis serves as emcee of the Google Cloud Academic All-America Hall of Fame dinner in Orlando. Photo by Jeff Hodges.

University of Alabama Communications & Information Sciences Hall of Famer Rece Davis, host of ESPN College GameDay Built by Home Depot, was recently honored with two awards at the 2019 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Davis was surprised with the Lester Jordan Award during this year’s Google Cloud Academic All-America Hall of Fame Dinner. The annual award is presented to those who show exemplary service to the Academic All-America Award program, an awards program which highlights the top student-athletes in the nation for both the academic and athletic performances from the junior college to NCAA Division I levels.

“I was honored and surprised when I was presented with the Lester Jordan Award. I had no idea that was in the works,” Davis said. “It’s always nice to have your work be honored. It is an esteemed list of people who have previously won the award. It’s a compliment to be included in that type of company. It was more special to me to have the award presented by my friend, Bernie Cafarelli. We have a great relationship. She’s a true professional who has been great to me over the years. It was cool to have her be the one to do the presentation and the interview, but I’ll get her back for that surprise. She and Jim Seavey totally duped me.”

Beginning his career as a student-broadcaster in the late 1980s at the University of Alabama, Davis says he’s been “keenly aware of the tremendous partnership between those of us in the media and SID staffs.” He has been involved in CoSIDA since 2011 as emcee of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame banquet. What began as a corporate sponsorship agreement with ESPN continued on at the urging of the late Dick Enberg, who previously served as emcee for the banquet.

Rece Davis (left) is presented the Lester Jordan Award from Bernie Cafarelli, associate sports information director at Notre Dame. Photo by Jeff Hodges.

“Sometimes the goals are in conflict, but I have a high regard for the SIDs that I work with regularly and we know if there’s a difference in goal or opinion it will be resolved professionally. Other than coaches and staff, no one spends more time with players or gets to know them better than the SID. Few spend more time with the coaches than the SID. They can help us discover the stories that need to be told and the ones that we want to be part of College Gameday. I’m happy to be a part of a program that’s so important to the bigger scope of college athletics,” Davis said.

In addition to the Lester Jordan Award, Davis was honored among his College GameDay colleagues with the 2019 Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award

“Anytime you get an award bearing Keith Jackson’s name it’s gratifying. Keith was synonymous with college football. He was a part of the fabric of the sport. He was the one who connected fans with the game during his era. We strive to show that same pure, authentic love for the sport on College Gameday and have that same relationship with the fans. We were honored to receive the award,” said Davis, who was joined by Lee Corso and producers for the ceremony.

This is not the first time CoSIDA has honored its longtime friend. Davis was also presented the 2017 Jake Wade Award, presented to “an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the media to the field of intercollegiate athletics.”

Davis, a 1988 graduate of the University of Alabama and native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, joined ESPN in 1995 and served as the primary studio host for ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage of college football and college basketball. He was named host of College GameDay in 2017. Davis was named the University of Alabama School of Communication Broadcast Department’s outstanding alumnus for 2001. He was inducted into the university’s Communication & Information Sciences Hall of Fame in 2018.

CoSIDA is comprised of more than 3,000 intercollegiate athletic communications and media relations professionals from colleges, universities and athletic conferences at all divisions of competition in the United States and Canada.

Written by Chris Megginson, The Scorer’s Table