Raftery at the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
April 19, 1943 |
Orange, New Jersey
|High school||Saint Cecilia (Kearny, New Jersey)|
|College||La Salle (1960–1963)|
|NBA draft||1963 / Round: 14 / Pick: 82nd overall|
|Selected by the New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|New Jersey Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year (1979)|
William Joseph Raftery (born April 19, 1943) is an American basketball analyst and former college basketball coach.
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, 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. He has been named, retroactively, Mr. Basketball USA for 1959.
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. 
Raftery began his coaching career at Fairleigh Dickinson University at Madison (now in Florham Park, New Jersey) where he was the head basketball coach from 1963 to 1968. Also, Raftery coached golf and served as associate athletic director.
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. 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.
|Fairleigh Dickinson–Madison Devils (NCAA College Division independent) (1963–1968)|
|Seton Hall Pirates (NCAA University Division/Division I independent) (1970–1976)|
|Seton Hall Pirates (New Jersey-New York 7 Conference) (1976–1979)|
|Seton Hall Pirates (Big East Conference) (1979–1981)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
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.
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). 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.
Another phrase he is known for is 'Man-to-man'. He announces it in a very fast and excited voice at the start of all games when the defending team is in that defense.
Starting with the 2014–15 collegiate basketball 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. On June 8, 2015, Raftery was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Hall of Fame. He also won the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Event Analyst in 2015 and 2016.
Aside from his commentating duties, Raftery was also the president of W.J. Raftery Associates, an event/marketing firm.
Born William Joseph Raftery in Orange, New Jersey, Bill Raftery grew up in an Irish Catholic family with Irish immigrant parents. His sister is a nun. Raftery earned a B.A. in history from La Salle University in 1963 and an M.A.E. in education from Seton Hall University in 1966. In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate from La Salle.
He lives in Florham Park, New Jersey with his wife, Joan, and has four children and four grandchildren. 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.
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