George Raveling

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George Raveling
George Raveling.jpg
circa 1971 [1]
Biographical details
Born (1937-06-27) June 27, 1937 (age 83)
Washington, D.C.
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1963–1969Villanova (assistant)
1969–1972Maryland (assistant)
1972–1983Washington State
Accomplishments and honors
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1976, 1983, 1992)
John Bunn Award (2013)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2015
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013

George Henry Raveling (born June 27, 1937) is an American former college basketball player and coach. He played at Villanova University, and was the head coach at Washington State University (1972–1983), the University of Iowa (1983–1986), and the University of Southern California (1986–1994).

Raveling has been Nike's global basketball sports marketing director since he retired from coaching in 1994.[2] A former FOX Sports Net color commentator, he is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Raveling did not play basketball until his ninth grade year.[4] He was enrolled at St. Michael's, a Catholic boarding school in Hoban Heights, Pennsylvania; it was founded as an orphanage in 1916 near Scranton and closed in 2010.[5] His grandmother's employer helped him enroll.[4] Raveling's father died when he was 9 and his mother was institutionalized when he was 13, so academics became among the most influential forces in his life.[4][6]

College and early career[edit]

Raveling attended college at Villanova University near Philadelphia and played basketball for the Wildcats.[7] An outstanding rebounder, he set school single game and season rebounding records in his time.[7] Raveling was team captain in his senior season, featured on the cover of the 1960 media guide,[8] and led the Wildcats to consecutive appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 1959 and 1960.[6] The Philadelphia Warriors selected him in the eighth round (pick 7) of the 1960 NBA draft.[9]

Raveling became an assistant coach at his alma mater Villanova, then moved to Maryland in 1969 on the staff of new head coach Lefty Driesell.[10] At College Park, he became the first African American coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).[11]

March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr., 1963[edit]

On August 28, 1963, as Martin Luther King Jr. waved goodbye to an audience of over 250,000 "March on Washington" participants, Raveling asked King if he could have the speech. King handed Raveling the original typewritten "I Have a Dream" pages.[12] Raveling was on the podium with King at that moment, having volunteered to provide security.[13] He still has the original, and had been offered more than three million dollars for the speech.[14][15]

Head coaching career[edit]

Washington State (1972–1983)[edit]

Hired in Pullman in April 1972,[1][6][10][16] Raveling was the first African-American basketball coach in the Pacific-8 Conference (Pac-8, now Pac-12).[11] He guided the Washington State Cougars from 1972–1983 with two NCAA tournament appearances during his eleven years. The first was in 1980 and marked the first time WSU was included in the NCAA bracket since the runner-up finish in 1941; the second was three years later in 1983. Raveling was one of the winningest coaches in Washington State basketball history, with a 167–136 (.551) record and seven winning seasons, including five straight from the 1975–76 campaign through the 1980 season.

While at WSU, Raveling was the West Regional coach at the 1979 U.S. Olympic Sports Festival, and an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1980.

Among his outstanding players were James Donaldson, Craig Ehlo, Don Collins, Bryan Rison, and Steve Harriel, who all earned All-Pac-10 first team honors. Donaldson went on to play in the NBA for 14 years and was on the Western Conference team for the All-Star Game in 1988. Collins played in both the NBA and CBA after setting the WSU record for career steels and finishing third in scoring. Ehlo, a junior college transfer from Texas, was selected in the third round of the 1983 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets; he played fourteen seasons with four NBA teams, amassing respectable career totals of 7,492 points, 2,456 assists, and 3,139 rebounds.

Raveling was the UPI Pac-8 Coach of the Year winner in 1976, its coach of the year in 1976 and 1983, and was the national runner-up for AP coach of the year in 1983.[17] He was honored by WSU with his induction into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.

Iowa (1983–1986)[edit]

Raveling succeeded Lute Olson as head coach at the University of Iowa in April 1983,[18][19][20] and guided the Hawkeyes to consecutive 20-win seasons and NCAA tournament berths in 1985 and 1986.

1984 Olympics, assistant coach[edit]

At the Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles, he served as the assistant coach for the USA team, composed of collegians. Bob Knight was the head coach, and Steve Alford and Michael Jordan were guards on that team. Shooting 63.9 percent from the floor, the U.S. team captured the ninth Olympic title with a convincing 96–65 victory over Spain in the gold medal game.

During his three years at Iowa, Raveling is probably best known for his recruits and outstanding players, including B.J. Armstrong, Kevin Gamble, Ed Horton, Roy Marble, and Greg Stokes, all of whom went on to play in the NBA.

USC (1986–1994)[edit]

In March 1986, he returned to the Pac-10 as head coach for the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.[21]

Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble were recruited to USC by Head Coach Stan Morrison and his top assistant, David Spencer. They were joined by high school All-American, Tom Lewis, and Rich Grande as the "Four Freshmen" star recruiting class.[22][23] Following an 11–17 season coaching USC, Morrison and Spencer were fired after the 1985–86 season was over, despite winning the Pac-10 the previous year. It was reported that the players would not remain unless certain conditions were met, including having a say in the next coaching staff.[22] USC hired Raveling as the next head coach of the Trojans.[24] Raveling gave the players a deadline to respond whether they would remain on the team. When they did not respond, he revoked the scholarships of Gathers, Kimble, and Lewis.[25] Raveling's controversial[26] statement was, "You can't let the Indians run the reservation," he said. "You've got to be strong, too. Sometimes you have to tell them that they have to exit."[22] Kimble and Gathers transferred together from USC to Loyola Marymount. Lewis transferred to Pepperdine. Grande remained at USC.

During Raveling's career at USC, the Trojans advanced to the NCAA tournament in 1991 and 1992 and competed in the NIT in 1993 and 1994.

Raveling was named Kodak National Coach of the Year (1992), Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year (1992), Black Coaches Association Coach of the Year (1992) and CBS/Chevrolet National Coach of the Year (1994).

Raveling and Sonny Vaccaro had been close friends, to the point that he was the best man at Sonny's second wedding. But, Raveling had a falling out with Sonny over the business of summer high school basketball camps that Sonny ran.[27]

Car accident and coaching retirement, 1994[edit]

On the morning of September 25, 1994, Raveling's Jeep was blindsided in a two-car collision in Los Angeles. He was seriously injured, suffering nine broken ribs, a fractured pelvis and clavicle, and a collapsed lung.[28][29] He was in intensive care due to bleeding in his chest cavity for two weeks.[30] Citing the automobile accident and planned lengthy rehabilitation, he retired as head coach of USC at the age of 57 on November 14.[31][32][33]


Raveling has worked as the Director for International Basketball for Nike[34] since his retirement from USC, and has authored two books on rebounding drills, War on the Boards and A Rebounder's Workshop. He has served as a color commentator for CBS Sports and FOX Sports Net, often drawing assignments for Pac-10 conference games.

Raveling has the original typewritten "I Have a Dream" speech given to him by Martin Luther King Jr..[12]

On September 8, 2018, he was selected by former University of Maryland head basketball coach Lefty Driesell as one of Driesell's presenters upon his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.[35]


In 2013, he received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,[36]

On November 21, 2013, he was a recipient of the Lapchick award (in memory of Joe Lapchick St. John's Basketball Coach, together with Don Haskins and Theresa Grentz.[37][2]

Reveling was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

On February 14, 2015 it was announced that George Raveling would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when he selected for direct election by the Contributor Direct Election Committee.[38]

Head coaching record[edit]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Washington State Cougars (Pacific-8 / 10 Conference) (1972–1983)
1972–73 Washington State 6–20 2–12 8th
1973–74 Washington State 8–21 3–11 T–7th
1974–75 Washington State 10–16 1–13 8th
1975–76 Washington State 19–7 9–5 4th
1976–77 Washington State 19–8 8–6 T–3rd
1977–78 Washington State 16–11 7–7 T–3rd
1978–79 Washington State 18–9 10–8 T–4th
1979–80 Washington State 22–6 14–4 3rd NCAA First Round
1980–81 Washington State 10–17 3–15 10th
1981–82 Washington State 16–14 10–8 5th
1982–83 Washington State 23–7 14–4 3rd NCAA Second Round
Washington State: 167–136 (.551) 76–66 (.535)
Iowa Hawkeyes (Big Ten Conference) (1984–1986)
1983–84 Iowa 13–15 6–12 T–7th
1984–85 Iowa 21–11 10–8 5th NCAA First Round
1985–86 Iowa 20–12 10–8 6th NCAA First Round
Iowa: 55–38 (.591) 26–28 (.481)
USC Trojans (Pacific-10 Conference) (1987–1994)
1986–87 USC 9–19 4–14 10th
1987–88 USC 7–21 5–13 T–8th
1988–89 USC 10–22 2–16 10th
1989–90 USC 12–16 6–12 T–7th
1990–91 USC 19–10 10–8 T–3rd NCAA First Round
1991–92 USC 24–6 15–3 2nd NCAA Second Round
1992–93 USC 18–12 9–9 T–5th NIT Quarterfinal
1993–94 USC 16–12 9–9 7th NIT First Round
USC: 115–118 (.494) 55–70 (.440)
Total: 337–292 (.536)


  1. ^ a b "Raveling is WSU choice". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). April 11, 1972. p. 17.
  2. ^ a b Former Iowa coach Raveling among Lapchick winners Associated Press (Newton Daily News), November 21, 2013
  3. ^ The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame - George Raveling
  4. ^ a b c Lefton, Terry - Champions 2017: George Raveling George Raveling’s life in basketball has touched many, helped influence the game. Sports Business Daily. March 27, 2017
  5. ^ CHARLES SCHILLINGER - St. Michael's School sold to New York-based non-profit. Times Tribune (Scranton PA), June 10, 2010
  6. ^ a b c Devlin, Vince (March 16, 1983). "Raveling". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  7. ^ a b Villanova Basketball Media Guide. Villanova Sports Information
  9. ^ Golden State Warriors Media Guide, NBA, 2017-2018. Original selection day Apr 11, 1960
  10. ^ a b "Raveling takes over new post". The Dispatch. Lexington, North Carolina. UPI. April 12, 1972. p. 15.
  11. ^ a b Lefton, Terry - 'The Godfather': George Raveling’s life in basketball has touched many, influenced the game Sports Business Journal, March 29, 2017
  12. ^ a b Xavier L. Suarez (October 27, 2011). Democracy in America: 2010. AuthorHouse. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-4567-6056-4. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  13. ^ Karen Price Hossell (December 5, 2005). I Have a Dream. Heinemann-Raintree Library. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-1-4034-6811-6. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  14. ^ Weir, Tom George Raveling owns MLK's 'I have a dream' speech. USA Today, February 27, 2009
  15. ^ Brinkley, Douglas (August 28, 2003). "Guardian of The Dream". Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  16. ^ Missildine, Harry (April 12, 1972). "Cougars' new coach busy with touring, telephoning". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 16.
  17. ^ "Lewis named top coach; Raveling finishes second". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 2, 1983. p. 13.
  18. ^ Brown, Bruce (April 5, 1983). "Raveling answers Iowa call". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 25.
  19. ^ "Raveling decides to leave Cougars". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire services. April 5, 1983. p. 1C.
  20. ^ Devlin, Vince (February 12, 1984). "Iowa: Nothing is un-Raveling - yet". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. D1.
  21. ^ USC Trojans Men's Basketball media guide. Online copy available at
  22. ^ a b c Harvey, Randy – Un-Raveling at USC: A Failure to Communicate. Los Angeles Times, May 13, 1986
  23. ^ Florence, Mal -Freshmen Make Sweet Music in USC Victory. Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1986. The young players—Hank Gathers, Tom Lewis, Bo Kimble and Rich Grande—all contributed Saturday afternoon as USC beat Arizona State, 81–72, at the Sports Arena.
  24. ^ Fleischman, Bill-Raveling Leaves Iowa To Take Reins At USC. Philadelphia Daily News, March 28, 1986
  25. ^ Florence, Mal Taken From 3 USC Freshmen : Lewis, Gathers and Kimble Receive Word From Raveling. Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1986
  26. ^ Sands, Vernon -At Least, If Raveling Gives a Hoot, Then So Does His USC Team. Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1986
  27. ^ Bucher, Ric - The Last Don ESPN Magazine. October 28, 2002
  28. ^ "Raveling called 'stable;' he won't need surgery". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Los Angeles Times). September 27, 1994. p. C2.
  29. ^ Sandomir, Richard. "1994 automobile accident". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  30. ^ SPORTS PEOPLE: BASKETBALL; Raveling Is 'Stable' New York Times, September 27, 1994.
  31. ^ "Raveling steps down at SC". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 15, 1994. p. C1.
  32. ^ Brown, Tim (November 15, 1994). "Raveling steps down as USC head coach". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). (Los Angeles Times). p. 1D.
  33. ^ Friend, Tom BASKETBALL; Raveling Resigns as Coach Of U.S.C., Citing Accident New York Times November 15, 1994.
  34. ^ Procopio, Mike (August 22, 2013). "About | Coaching for Success | The Official Website of George Raveling". Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  35. ^ Hall of Fame highlights: Ray Allen praises Celtics teammates, Steve Nash inspires, Don Nelson's new look
  36. ^ Legendary Coach George Raveling To Receive Basketball Hall of Fame's 2013 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award Archived 2013-02-20 at the Wayback Machine February 15, 2013
  37. ^ Coaching icons earn Lapchicks. ESPN (AP), November 21, 2013.
  38. ^ Great basketball Coach, Lifetime contributor George Raveling to enter Hall of Fame in Class of 2015 Archived 2015-02-14 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]