Bill Raftery will be leaving long-time ESPN partners Jay Bilas and Sean McDonough for FOX Sports.

SEND IT IN! Bill Raftery to Call Big East Games for FOX

Well isn’t this a wonderful surprise. When FOX Sports officially acquired the rights to broadcast Big East games in March, we knew that Gus Johnson would be the main play-by-play announcer. Today, FOX Sports announced who will be brought in for color commentary… and it’s none other than Big East mainstay Bill Raferty. Raftery will call Big East regular season and tournament games on FOX Sports 1; he will continue his role in calling NCAA tournament games with CBS/Turner. Credit Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports for breaking the story.

Raf was the head coach at Seton Hall from 1970 to 1981. He has been calling Big East games since 1982, so for him to continue his association with the league after all that has taken place with conference (and network) realignment is quite special. Everyone knows of his call in a 1988 Big East matchup between Providence and Pitt:

Everyone knows who you’re talking about when you say “ONIONS!”, “A LIL’ KISS!”, or “MANDAMAN!” The instant credibility this gives not only FOX Sports 1 but also the rebooted Big East is immense. There’s a social media buzz that FOX Sports 1 has not yet had. All because of Raf. Oh, and he’s darn good at his job too.

I’m sure this particular clip has been linked on a bunch of blogs this afternoon, but I don’t care. It gives us a perfect look at what to expect from the FOX Big East broadcast booth:

And here are some of my other favorite clips. Folks… get excited:

Tags: Big East Big East Basketball Big East Conference Bill Raftery

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