ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ pays tribute to Tom Rinaldi in heartfelt sendoff

ESPN's College GameDay paid tribute to longtime reporter Tom Rinaldi in a heartfelt sendoff Friday ahead of his final show before the College Football Semifinal game.

The award-winning reporter who is leaving the network and joining Fox Sports in January, used his farewell moment to thank the GameDay crew, show producers and staff. 

"It's been an incredible ride. Nineteen years at ESPN and 17 years as part of College GameDay. And the indulgence of really being able to say thank you," Rinanldi said.

GameDay host Rece Davis and analysts Desmond Howard and David Pollack also wished Rinaldi well as they gave him a standing ovation. 

Tom Rinaldi is leaving ESPN to join Fox Sports in January. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

"You have been a confidant, the conscious of this show," Davis said. "You have welcomed me with open arms and as I have told you, when you told us the news that you are moving on to the next great opportunity, (we are) friends first no matter what and I appreciate everything you have meant to this show and to me personally."

On his final College GameDay after 17 years, the crew says farewell to Tom Rinaldi.

Thank you for the stories and your friendship. pic.twitter.com/ImcRM5PeO6

The network aired a segment written by Rinaldi sharing profound moments throughout his career.

"For more than 15 years, I never had to graduate, from the greatest gig and the grandest show and from being a part of this family," Rinaldi said. "It's bond and love and example of dedication and leadership, warmth and cheer, trust and teamwork, kindness and caring. So, I thank you for sharing the stories and the moments and all the Saturday mornings, with deepest gratitude, Tom."

Tom Rinaldi pens a thank you note after all of his years on College GameDay.

We’ll miss you, Tom ❤️ pic.twitter.com/DOL08XYHRP

Rinaldi will join the FOX Sports network in January.

“I’m beyond excited to join the great team at Fox Sports,” Rinaldi said in a statement. “To contribute to the network’s incredible collection of live events, and to continue to tell the stories across those sports and in those venues, is such a fantastic opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

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