Bill Raftery Is Healthy, Happy, and Has No Plans to Retire Anytime Soon

Sam Bramlett - Author

Mar. 17 2023, Published 6:07 p.m. ET

Bill Raftery
Source: Getty Images

Since 1983, Bill Raftery has been a familiar voice for college sports fans.

His signature style of game calling spawned the now-legendary quote from the 1988 Big East Conference game, when the Pittsburgh Panthers' Jerome Lane went up for a backboard-shattering dunk and Bill bellowed, "send it in, Jerome!" with infectious enthusiasm.

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Before he was a broadcaster, Bill was a coach for Seton Hall from 1971 to 1981 and before that, he played ball himself at La Salle University.

Today, Bill, 79, is still doing what he does best on CBS alongside Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, and Tracy Wolfson. So, how is his health — and does he have any plans to retire?

Bill Raftery is healthy — and loves keeping busy.

Bill at the 38th Sports Emmy Awards.
Source: Getty Images

Before becoming a broadcaster, Bill was an NCAA head Coach for Seton Hall.

Bill turns 80 on April 19 and credits staying healthy to his busy work schedule.

"I feel fortunate that people still let me do it. I think it keeps you young," he told The Athletic. "We all have friends who retired too young. I don’t know if I could stop working and play golf every day."

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Along with his impressive broadcast career, Bill has been married to his wife, Joan, since 1969 and the couple have four children and five grandchildren.

His son Billy actually produced and narrated a documentary about his father's life in basketball called With a Kiss in 2016.

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Is Bill Raftery planning to retire soon?

Not anytime soon. While one of his crewmates Jim Nantz, 63, has announced his intention to retire (he'll be replaced by Ian Eagle), Bill has no plans on ending his career.

"I'm assuming that at some point, somebody will say, 'maybe you should pack it in.'" Bill explained to The Athletic. "I don't consider it work... I don't even want to think about it, to be honest with you."

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In 2017, Bill was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame — and this year marks his 43rd time calling the Division I NCAA Championship.

"Few in this industry are recognized as being at the top of their game, as well as being universally respected and liked by colleagues, coaches, players, and fans," said Chairman of CBS Sports Sean McManus.

Jim Nantz, agreed, adding, "He is beloved. When you listen to him on the air, you can hear his smile. All the rest of the world has gotten a little bit older, but Raftery is this timeless guy who continues to see things very quickly, very crisp in his commentary, this whimsical approach to dropping in a quip here and there. I just laugh."

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