George Raveling became the head coach at Washington State in 1972 and he left in 1983. During the interim the Cougars finished in the top half of the Pac-10 seven time and made the NCAA Tournament twice (for only the 2nd and 3rd time in school history). WSU is a school where basketball has rarely ever been a team of national prominence and, for the first time in 40 years, George Raveling gave that to us.
Now he's being rewarded with the highest honor in the game. It was announced this week that, this September, Raveling will inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as one of the "direct-elect" members.
Raveling really has had a remarkable basketball career. He was an assistant coach at Villanova and Maryland before taking his first head coaching job in Pullman. He left WSU in 1983 and went to Iowa for 3 seasons and took the Hawkeyes to back-to-back 20 win seasons and NCAA tournament appearances. In 1986 Raveling returned to the Pac-10 with the USC Trojans. In LA, he took the Trojans to the tourney twice, won three coach of the year awards in 1992 and one in 1994. He retired following the 1994 after a major car accident left him with numerous broken bones and a lengthy rehab stay.
Raveling will enter the hall as a contributor which, according to Bud Withers of the Seattle Times, makes a lot of sense. He did more than just coach the game:
A generation ago, when there was a roiling debate on whether enhanced academic standards were unfair to minorities, Raveling was among those in the control room with the Black Coaches Association, deciding whether some games would be boycotted in protest.
Raveling went on to work for Nike, hammered hard in the 2000 book "Sole Influence" for his time around the shadowy world of grass-roots basketball, but later took on the title of the shoe company’s director of international basketball.
Not only was Raveling a coach that led WSU from the dark ages to national prominence for the first time in 40 years, he was an important figure internationally that shaped the way the game is looked at and served as an inspiration for coaches and players, including current WSU coach Ernie Kent:
"Pioneers for us African-American coaches," Kent called them. "He’s been a tremendous ambassador for the game of basketball. He’s affected a whole lot of coaches."
12 others are up for election into the 2015 class the old fashioned way. They include John Calipari, Dikembe Mutumbo, Tim Hardaway, Lisa Leslie and Spencer Haywood. The final class of 2015 will be announced during Final Four weekend in April.
The five "direct-elect" members, including Raveling, along with the rest of the class will be inducted this September in Springfield, Massachusetts.
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