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Bill Raftery

Title Head coach
College Seton Hall University (1970-1982)
Sport Basketball
Born April 19, 1943 (1943-04-19) (age 66)
Place of birth United States
Career highlights
Overall 154-141 at Seton Hall
Four ECAC post-season tournaments
Three National Invitational Tournament appearances
New Jersey Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year (1979)
Playing career
St. Cecilia High School
La Salle University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)

Fairleigh Dickinson University (Basketball HC, Golf HC, and Associate Athletic Director)
Seton Hall University (Basketball)

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




High School

Raftery was awarded the New Jersey high school All-State selections in basketball, soccer and baseball at St. Cecilia High School in Kearny, New Jersey.


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.

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

Coaching career

From 1970 to 1981, he was the head coach of Seton Hall University where he had a 154–141 win-loss record and led the Pirates to four ECAC post-season tournaments and two National Invitational Tournament appearances. His 154 wins as a coach place him fourth on the all-time list at Seton Hall behind Honey Russell, P.J. Carlesimo, and Frank Hill. Prior to his job at Seton Hall, he was at Fairleigh Dickinson University where he coached basketball (leading the team to an NIT berth) and golf, and also served as Associate Athletic Director. In 1979, he was named Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Sports Writers Association.

Broadcasting career

He has served as an analyst and play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports' college basketball coverage for over 23 years. During CBS' play-by-play coverage of March Madness, Raftery is frequently partnered with Verne Lundquist. Raftery is also an analyst with ESPN, primarily partnered with Sean McDonough and Jay Bilas on Big East action; he also serves an analyst for CBS Radio/Westwood One's coverage of the NCAA Men's Final Four along with Kevin Harlan and John Thompson. Raftery has also served as an analyst for the New Jersey Nets and served as an on-course commentator for Senior PGA Tour events.

To many college basketball fans growing up on ESPN, Bill Raftery has been known as a better version of Dick Vitale since the network's early days.

Raftery's classic call phrases include:

"man to man," which eventually became the compressed call, "man-a-man," a signature call of the defense at the beginning of every game. Occasionally, under duress and/or as required by the situation, "two-three zone with 'man-a-man principles' has been substituted with great effect. "Onions!" (a shot that requires some cajones) "A Dagger!" (a shot, usually from the perimeter, that demoralizes an opponent) "With a....Kiss!" (shot off the backboard, a finesse shot [most of the time]) "Moving the Puppies," (good defensive play, defender keeping his feet in front of the player with the ball; occasionally a player shuffling his feet on offense)

His most notable call has always been, "Send it in, Jerome!" when Jerome Lane from Pitt shattered the backboard on a dunk in a game against Providence 1/25/88.

Personal life

Raftery earned a bachelor degree in history from La Salle University and a masters degree in education from Seton Hall. In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate from La Salle. Aside from his ESPN and CBS 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.


Preceded by
Richard Regan
Seton Hall Men's Head Basketball Coach
Succeeded by
Hoddy Mahon


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