NBA TV Talent: Bill Raftery
Posted Jul 24 2003 7:44PM
For the past seventeen years, Bill Raftery has served as television analyst for New Jersey Nets telecasts. Raftery brings his playing and coaching experience to every telecast, offering keen analysis and opinion during the games. He began his broadcasting career with SportsChannel New York (now known as FOX Sports Net) in 1982 and for the last four seasons has been paired with Ian Eagle. The year 1982 also marked Raftery’s first season with ESPN, where he serves as an analyst for college basketball. Since 1982, he can also be heard as an analyst on CBS’s college basketball and NBA coverage.
Over his 19-year broadcast career, the excitable announcer who calls bank shots has called many thrilling Nets and college basketball games, including the Nets 1984 first- round upset win over the World Champion 76ers in the playoffs and the mid-1980’s Big East successes in the NCAA Tournament. He has also worked the NCAA Finals for the last eight years on CBS Radio.
From 1970-1981, Raftery served as head basketball coach at Seton Hall University, where he revitalized the program and led the Pirates to seven straight winning seasons and a record of 154-141. Raftery led the team 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. From 1979-1981, he also served as President of the Big East Coaches Association. Prior to coaching at SHU, Raftery spent five years coaching at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. He led the Jersey Devils to a 63-48 record from 1963-68. In his final year at FDU, he led the team to an 18-6 record and earned Coach of the Year honors from the New Jersey Basketball Writers Association. His .572 winning percentage is the highest in school history and his 63 wins rank him second on the all-time list.
A standout on the court as well, Raftery played three seasons at LaSalle University under legendary coach Donald “Dudley” Moore. During the 1959-1960 season, he set a freshman scoring mark with 370 points. The next year, he led the varsity team with 17.8 points per game and in his senior year, he co-captained the Explorers to the National Invitational Tournament. Following his senior year at LaSalle, he was drafted by the New York Knicks, making it to the final cut.
Prior to attending LaSalle, Raftery was an All-State selection in basketball, soccer and baseball at St. Cecilia High School in Kearny, New Jersey. On the hardwood, he posted a New Jersey state record scoring 827 points in his senior year, leading the team to the state championship. During his high school career he scored 2,192 points, which at the time was also a New Jersey state record.
Raftery lives with his wife Joan in Florham Park, NJ. They have four children. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf.