THE CLASSIC HISTORY
COACH RAVELING TRIBUTE
Raveling (who turned 84 on June 27) spent his last six seasons as a head coach at USC (retiring after
suffering severe injuries in an automobile accident).
He has had a major impact on basketball – and those who coach, play and write or talk about it, in
print, electronic or social media – for the better part of six decades.
Raveling was a “pioneer”, of sorts, for opening the path for minorities to become head coaches – and
not just in basketball – when he was hired by Washington State University as the first African-American
head coach in the then-Pac 8 (and since, the Pac 12) Conference.
He took the Trojans, WSU and University of Iowa teams to NCAA tournaments, coached numerous
athletes who went on to play in the NBA and/or become noteworthy coaches themselves.
Raveling also helped coach some of the most iconic players in history, notably Michael Jordan, Patrick
Ewing and David Robinson, as a member of the 1984 and ’88 USA Olympic coaching staffs.
His presence within the Nike organization since 1994, on multiple levels, helped elevate it to the
plateau of the signature athletic apparel company in the world especially relative to basketball.
A veracious reader, writer and “communicator”, Raveling is the source of sage advice – nearly on a
daily basis – from dozens of prominent college and NBA coaches, including the likes of John Calipari
(Kentucky), Jay Wright (Villanova), Shaka Smart (Marquette) and Buzz Williams (Texas A&M).
*1960: Graduated from the University of Villanova (Economics degree), where he was a three-year starter, captain and set rebounding records.
*1963-69: Assistant coach at Villanova.
*1969-72: Assistant coach at the University of Maryland (first African-American coach in the ACC).
*1972-83: Washington State head coach (first African-American head coach in Pac 12 – then Pac 8 – and three-time Coach of Year).
*1983-86: University of Iowa head coach.
*1984: Assistant coach (to Bob Knight) on U.S. Olympic team.
*1986-94: USC head coach.
*1994-present: Multiple positions with the Nike organization, including founder of its Grassroots Basketball and Global Basketball programs.
*1988: Assistant coach (to John Thompson) on U.S. Olympic team.
*2013: Inducted into National Association of Basketball Coaches’ College Hall of Fame.
*2015: Inducted into Naismith Hall of Fame.
*2016: Keynote graduation speaker at Villanova, where he also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
*2021: Presented with the Dean Smith Award by the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association.
*2021: Donated Dr. Martin Luther King’s notes from his “I Have A Dream” speech (given to him by King after the 1963 iconic moment in Washington, DC,) to Villanova, which put them out to loan to the