College basketball analyst Bill Raftery agreed to call games for the new Big East Conference next season on Fox Sports 1, ending a relationship with ESPN that began in 1982.
Raftery will serve as lead analyst, working with play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, on regular-season and Big East Tournament games for the network that begins programming Aug. 17, Fox Sports said in a news release.
“I was fortunate to work at ESPN since its inception, and I’ll be forever grateful to all the talented, professional people who supported me along the way,” Raftery said in a statement. “Today, though, we turn the page. I’ve been associated with the Big East Conference since it began, and I feel the same excitement and anticipation now as I did way back then as the conference is re-born with Fox Sports.”
Raftery, 70, who played three seasons at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, has been a basketball analyst on radio and television for 32 years, working with ESPN, CBS and CBS Radio. He coached Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, from 1970 to 1981, posting a record of 154-141.
The newly formed Big East begins business on July 1 following a split from the original conference that was founded in 1979. After retaining the rights to the Big East name, its schools will be Georgetown, St. John’s, Villanova, Seton Hall, Providence, Marquette, DePaul, Butler, Creighton and Xavier.
Val Ackerman, the first head of the Women’s National Basketball Association, was introduced yesterday as the first commissioner of the new Big East.
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