Big East schools get to keep Bill Raftery for broadcasts

USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports 1 has agreed to terms with the veteran college sports broadcaster and La Salle graduate, hiring him away from ESPN.

Bill Raftery has been the voice of Big Mondays on ESPN as long as most people can remember, but he won't be heard on ESPN Monday nights anymore. The new Fox Sports national cable channel has signed a deal with Raftery to bring him, and his "Onions!" over to their new venture. He will join former CBS broadcaster Gus Johnson on the mic, calling Big East games next season.

He will serve as Fox Sports' lead game analyst for Big East regular season games and will also team with Gus Johnson as the primary broadcasters for the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament.

"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. I leave with nothing but terrific memories and friendships," said Raftery. "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. I'm really looking forward to being reunited with my former CBS partner, Gus Johnson, whose style I love and passion for college basketball is unmatched."

Fox has notably poached a number of sports personalities from ESPN and other networks after the announcement of their new television networks. Raftery is the first who was brought in exclusively to cover the Big East, however. The former coach has been broadcasting since 1982 with ESPN, where he figuratively "grew up" with the Big East conference -- now he will follow five of those schools from his initial run with the Big East brand into a brave new world with Fox.

Fox will televise over 100 Big East Men's basketball games in the 2013-14 season.

Raftery will still be able to call NCAA tournament games under a separate contract with CBS Sports.


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