Bill Raftery

Not to be confused with the comedian and impressionist, Bill Rafferty.
Bill Raftery
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1943-04-19) April 19, 1943
Playing career
1961–1964 La Salle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1965–1970 Fairleigh Dickinson–Florham
1970–1981 Seton Hall
Head coaching record
Overall 217–188 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
New Jersey Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year (1979)

Bill Raftery (born April 19, 1943) is an American basketball analyst and former college basketball coach.


High school career

Raftery attended Saint Cecilia High School in Kearny, New Jersey, where he starred in basketball and became the all-time leading scorer in state history with 2,192 points,[1] a record finally surpassed after 35 years. He earned all-state honors in basketball and led his team to the state championship in his senior season. He was also named all-state in baseball and soccer.[2] He has been named, retroactively, Mr. Basketball USA for 1959.[3]

College career

Raftery played at La Salle University under coach Donald "Dudey" Moore. During his freshman year he scored a freshman record 370 points, followed by a team leading 17.8 points per game in his sophomore year. As a senior he co-captained the Explorers to the National Invitation Tournament. [4]

Following his senior year at La Salle, Raftery was drafted by the NBA's New York Knicks, making it to the final cut, but he never played in the NBA.[5]

Coaching career

From 1970 to 1981, he was the head coach of Seton Hall University, where he posted a 154–141 record and led the Pirates to four ECAC post-season tournaments and two National Invitational Tournament appearances. In 1979, he was named Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Sports Writers Association.[6] His 154 wins as a coach places him fourth on the all-time list at Seton Hall behind Honey Russell, P.J. Carlesimo, and Frank Hill.

Prior to his head-coaching position at Seton Hall, he was at Fairleigh Dickinson University at Florham Park, New Jersey where he coached basketball and golf, and also served as Associate Athletic Director.

Broadcasting career

Nicknamed "The Coach" by many of his broadcasting colleagues, Raftery has consecutively served as an analyst and play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports' college basketball coverage for over 33 years.

Raftery was also an analyst with ESPN, primarily partnered with Sean McDonough and Jay Bilas and formerly Mike Gorman for Big East games. He has also served as an analyst for CBS Radio/Westwood One's coverage of the NCAA Men's Final Four along with Kevin Kugler and John Thompson.

Raftery has also served as an analyst for the New Jersey Nets (prior to the franchise's move to Brooklyn) and was an on-course commentator for PGA Tour Champions Tour events.[4]

On June 27, 2013, Raftery signed with FOX to call Big East basketball games on the upstart network Fox Sports 1 with Gus Johnson.[7]

During CBS' coverage of March Madness, Raftery (prior to the 2015 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament) had been frequently partnered with Verne Lundquist. His trademark quotes are "Onions!" (whenever a shot is made late in a close game), "Send It In Big Fella!" (whenever a post player makes a slam dunk), and, "A Little Lingerie On The Deck!" (whenever a player makes a nifty move with the ball and fakes out the defender).[8] He is especially remembered for "Send It In, Jerome!", his call immediately after Jerome Lane of the University of Pittsburgh shattered the backboard with a powerful dunk during a 1988 game.[8]

Starting with the 2014–15 collegiate hoops season, CBS/Turner Sports partnered Raftery with Jim Nantz and Grant Hill to make up the primary announcing team for the remainder of the regular season, all the way through the NCAA men's basketball tournament and the Final four.[9] On June 8, 2015, Raftery was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Hall of Fame.

Personal life

Raftery is an Irish-Catholic whose parents came from Ireland. His sister is a nun.[10] Raftery earned a bachelor's degree in history from La Salle University and a master's degree in education from Seton Hall University. In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate from La Salle.[6]

Aside from his commentating duties, Raftery is the president of W.J. Raftery Associates, an event/marketing firm.

He lives in Florham Park, New Jersey with his wife, Joan, and has four children and four grandchildren.[4] His son, Billy, produced and narrated a documentary entitled, With a Kiss, about his father's life in basketball. The documentary premiered hours before the longtime broadcaster called his second Final Four as a television analyst for CBS Sports.[11]


External links

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