National treasure Bill Raftery is still calling multiple games a week across multiple networks, and will (presumably) be calling the NCAA Tournament once again in two months.
In his weekly Hoop Thoughts column on The Athletic, Seth Davis caught up with Raftery to talk about his pregame prep work, research, and his future, months before he turns 80.
When asked why he’s still working so hard at his age, Raftery’s response was simple: he doesn’t consider what he does work, and he wouldn’t want to retire and play golf every day.
I asked Raftery a simple question: Why are you still grinding like this? His familiar Irish chuckle came through the phone. “I don’t consider it work,” he said. “I know it sounds corny, but I feel fortunate that people still let me do it. I think it keeps you young. We all have friends who retired too young. I don’t know if I could stop working and play golf every day. I don’t even want to think about it, to be honest with you.”
Raftery also isn’t pondering retirement any time soon, much to our joy.
When will he stop? He has been asked this many times, and his answer is always the same. “I never even thought about it, y’know? Never. I’m assuming that at some point somebody will say maybe you should pack it in. I hope that’s not for a while.”
Jim Nantz, Raftery’s broadcast partner along with Grant Hill during the NCAA Tournament since 2015, will be stepping down from his role as the lead March Madness announcer after the 2023 season. Ian Eagle, who is expected to replace Nantz, has called plenty of games with Raftery, and it would be great if Raftery retained his analyst chair alongside Eagle next year.