Larry Busacca

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Bob Ley, an anchor at ESPN since the network's launch 40 years ago, has announced his retirement.

Ley was ESPN's longest-tenured anchor, joining "SportsCenter" on the channel's third day of operation on Sept. 9, 1979. He hosted "Outside The Lines," an investigative news program, from its launch in 1990 until he took a sabbatical last September.

The 64-year-old Ley tweeted Wednesday that he's enjoying the "best of health" and that the decision to retire was "entirely" his own.

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro says Ley set "the standard of excellence" with his "unwavering commitment and unparalleled work ethic."

Ley hosted the first NCAA selection show and the inaugural live broadcast of the NFL draft in 1980. On "OTL," he led reporting on concussions and the NFL's handling of domestic violence cases.

He provided the first live national reports during the earthquake in San Francisco at the 1989 World Series.

Ley, who won 11 Sports Emmy Awards, was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame this week.