Bill Raftery’s remarkable career as a college basketball broadcaster took an unusual turn last year when he received the opportunity to call his first Final Four on television at the age of 73, and that moment’s now the centerpiece of a new documentary produced and directed by his son, Billy Raftery Jr. The documentary, a joint production of CBS and Turner Sports, will make its debut on CBS April 2 at noon. Here’s more information on what this one-hour special, entitled “With A Kiss,” will include:
Through a son’s eyes, WITH A KISS tells the story of a father who had been on the Road to the Final Four his whole life, and last year, at age 73, got the call to announce his first Final Four on television. The documentary chronicles Raftery’s experience at the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis, his 35-year broadcasting career and ascent to one of the pinnacles in sports broadcasting as CBS Sports’ lead college basketball analyst. The show presents an intimate look at Raftery’s family life and highlights his early years in which the Kearny, N.J. native was a basketball star earning player of the year honors as a high school senior in 1959.
WITH A KISS also features interviews with numerous college coaches, broadcasting colleagues and current and former players including: Jim Boeheim, Lou Carnesecca, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, John Thompson, Sr., Roy Williams, Jay Wright, Grant Hill, Verne Lundquist, Jim Nantz, Charles Barkley, Jay Bilas, Sean McDonough, Jerome Lane, Denzel Valentine and many more.
Raftery joined CBS Sports in 1983 and will call his 34th NCAA Tournament this year, teaming again with Jim Nantz and Grant Hill to call the Final Four. Last year he was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s Hall of Fame.
Raftery’s long been known for his passion, his enthusiasm, and his memorable calls (including the now-trademarked “ONIONS!”), and he’s continuing to play a large role in college basketball coverage, even calling games on two different networks in January. He did well on the Final Four last year, so it’s nice to see him get that chance again, and this documentary should be an interesting look at his career and what that first Final Four TV experience was like for him. The interview list is remarkable, too, and this should be an enjoyable watch for college basketball fans. It will premiere on CBS on Sunday, April 2 at noon ahead of the first Final Four games.