Bill Raftery has done it all, bar none!
On the television side, Raftery, a two-time Emmy Award-winning analyst has a broadcast career that spans over 30 years.
He’s literally created his own dictionary with catchphrases like “onions” and “the kiss” regularly at his disposal as a mainstay at CBS and ESPN during the NCAA Tournament, Final Four, Big East Championship, Big Ten Championship, ACC Championship, and SEC Championship.
A head coach at Seton Hall University from 1970-81, he guided the SHU Pirates to a 154-141 record.
During his collegiate playing career at La Salle University in Philadelphia from 1960-63, Raf was also a pretty decent basketball player. He averaged 17.8 points in his sophomore season and co-captained the team to the NIT in his season season.
Raftery was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2017.
I first got to know him during my childhood Nets days when he and Ian Eagle were a tag team tandem broadcasting New Jersey Nets games on Sports Channel and Fox Sports New York.
They were great together!
I’ll never forget being on deadline and having to turn in a feature on him by noon during my freshman year of high school at Seton Hall Prep. Raf broadcasted a Net game the night before and told me to call him at 7:00 AM the next morning to do an interview.
That’s kinda early.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
The phone rings, his wife answers and she hands the phone to her husband who is wide the heck awake!
Gracious as ever, he knocked the interview out of the park in the early.
“You have a good memory,” Bill Raftery recounted in a recent Scoop B Radio interview.
“I do remember that happening though, because at that point Prep had moved off campus.
“But we loved Prep when it was on the campus because there was just a wholesome atmosphere with these young kids and I used to throw them in the car because I knew they were from Prep and the kids were always so sharp. Father Kelly was just one of those special guys as you well know but seven in the morning back then I might have just be coming in, think about that. You know how us Irish guys like to do.”
By the way for those keeping score at home, below is a list of some of the top Bill Raf-isms:
- ‘send it in Jerome!
- ‘lingerie on the deck!’
- ‘the kiss!’
- ‘tear drop’
- ‘attack the tin!’