TAMPA — After covering Tampa Bay sports for more than three decades, WTSP-Ch. 10 reporter and anchor Dave Wirth is retiring.
"It's starting to hit home," Wirth said before Wednesday's 6 p.m. broadcast. "It feels a little strange to be leaving, but there's an awfully good feeling of relief, too."
His last day will be Friday.
People in the sports industry take it seriously, he said, but he hopes viewers who tuned into his broadcasts found some levity, too.
"I tried to impart to people watching it that sports is entertainment, that sports is fun, that it's our escape," he said. "I hope that's the way I did it."
The station announced his retirement in a Facebook post.
"Dave Wirth is going to have a little bit more me-time and a lot more tee-times," the post reads. A video features anchor Reginald Roundtree playing a golf announcer, while Wirth sweats under the pressure of making a putt.
"It all comes down to this. A lifetime of work on the line," Roundtree says with faux gravitas. "This. Final. Putt."
"Reg, will you knock it off?" Wirth replies. "I'm retiring from TV, not from golf."
Wirth, 61, born and raised outside Chicago, began at Channel 10 in 1984. It was only the second television station at which he has worked.
According to his page on the Channel 10 website, Wirth enjoys golf, comedy, barbecue — and more golf. He and his wife have raised three children in the Tampa Bay area.
Some of the greatest moments of his career, he said Wednesday, were covering major moments in Tampa Bay sports history: the Lightning's Stanley Cup win, the Buccaneers' Super Bowl win, the Rays' run in the World Series.
"It feels like it's time for me to step away for a while," he said. "I do feel like I have some gas left in the tank, so I'm pretty sure I'll be doing something else with my life in due time.
"As (former Buccaneers head coach) Lovie Smith said, 'It's time to hit the pause button for a little while.' "