GEORGE RAVELING, ‘60
DOCTOR OF HUMANE LETTERS
George Raveling, ‘60 is the current Director of International Basketball for Nike and a former men’s college basketball coach.
Raveling was born in in Washington, DC and was a basketball standout in high school. He went on to receive an athletic scholarship to attend Villanova University, where he led the Wildcats in rebounding from 1958-60. He graduated from Villanova with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and then began a career as a marketing analyst for Sun Oil Company.
A few years later, Raveling returned to Villanova as an assistant coach and became known as a proficient recruiter. George’s talents were noticed by University of Maryland coach, Lefty Driesell, who made George his first hire. In 1972, Raveling became the head of Washington State, where his teams made it to the NCAA twice and six of his players made NBA rosters with many others playing professional overseas.
In 1983, George became the head coach of the University of Iowa and had back-to-back 20 win seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament berths during his tenure. After his stint at the University of Iowa, Raveling took the head coaching job at the University of Southern California, where he took the Trojans to two NCAA appearances and, in 1992, was named Kodak National Coach of the Year, Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year Black Coaches Association Coach of the Year. In 1994, he was named the CBS/Chevrolet National Coach of the Year. As he’d done in his previous institutions, George used his platform as head coach to influence more than just his players and implemented “Reading with Raveling,” a program designed to improve inner city kids’ reading skills.
After his tenure at USC, Raveling had brief stints as a color commentator for FOX Sports and CBS. Then, Raveling took on the job of Director of Grass Roots Basketball for Nike. In 2000, he was promoted to Director of Global Basketball, and at the age of 70 when most people are deeply immersed in retirement, George was named the Director of International Basketball for Nike.
Raveling was the first African-American coach in the ACC and PAC-8 (now the PAC-12), and served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic teams in 1984 and 1988. He is not only known for making history by breaking down racial barriers as a coach, but also was a part of history when in 1963 he received the original copy of the Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream” speech.
Raveling has been inducted into numerous hall of fames, including the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013 when he was honored with the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also been inducted into the hall of fames at Washington State, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Villanova University and the Black Coaches Association. Raveling has published two books, War on the Boards and A Rebounder’s Workshop and is a renowned speaker and a former member of the National Speakers Association