ESPN College Gameday host Rece Davis is opening up about his Christian faith, telling the Sports Spectrum Podcast that he grew up in a churchgoing home and has been blessed to be surrounded by "tremendous men of God" during his career who help hold him accountable.
Davis is one of the most well-known faces in college sports as the host of the Emmy Award-winning College Gameday, which travels from campus to campus during the fall for college football and then during the winter for college basketball.
Davis, who grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama, told Sports Spectrum Podcast host Jason Romano that he was "really fortunate" to have grown up in a Christian home where Bible study and church attendance were required.
"I would be wanting to watch Monday Night Football, at least for a while until I had to go to bed. And I couldn't – we didn't do that until we had done our devotional that night," he said.
Davis' father was a deacon in a local Church of Christ congregation. His parents, he said, modeled faith for him.
"I was blessed in that regard," he said. "But there's always that moment when you realize that your faith doesn't get grandfathered. I was baptized when I was 13 going on 14 and stayed active."
Once in college, he said he realized people were watching him to see if he lived out his faith.
"People are watching you – regardless of your station in life, they'll notice how you treat them. And it will reflect upon what you say you are," he said. "... There might be someone listening who says, 'Well, I can give you 15 examples of where Rece Davis wasn't what he says he is' – and they would probably be right about that."
The ESPN host said his faith story isn't one of radical transformation but one of "constantly trying to repent and get it right."
"I've been blessed to have a couple of guys that I've worked with that are just tremendous men of God and influences," he said, referencing Hubert Davis, LaPhonso Ellis, David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit. He and those men often text back and forth – "checking on each other, challenging each other."
"I think all of that kind of helps if you start to get off track," he said.
When co-host Lee Corso once suffered a health issue, Davis said, "There were a few of us that stepped aside privately and prayed together for him.
"And so having people like that around you, it helps."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Rich Barnes/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.