Former USC Coach George Raveling elected into Basketball Hall of Fame

USC basketball Coach George Raveling, left, speaks with freshman Stais Boseman during a game against California in March 1994. Raveling was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
(McKoy, Kirk / Los Angeles Times)

Former USC Coach George Raveling was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced Saturday.

Raveling was at USC from 1986 to 1994, taking the Trojans to two NCAA tournament appearances and earning national coach of the year recognition in 1992 and 1994. Raveling, the first black coach in the conference now known as the Pac-12, has been a Nike executive for several years.

Raveling was one of five people who were “direct elects” into this year’s Hall of Fame, meaning there was no vote taken. He will be inducted as a “contributor,” a catch-all category that also includes former Lakers consultant Tex Winter, the architect of the modern-day triangle offense.

Before arriving at USC, Raveling was an assistant at Villanova and Maryland before earning his first head coaching job at Washington State in 1972. He then became a head coach at Iowa in 1983, taking the Hawkeyes to back-to-back 20-victory seasons before accepting the job at USC.

Raveling’s most successful team at USC was the 1991-92 squad that featured Harold Miner and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing a heartbreaker to Georgia Tech, 79-78. The Trojans took a 78-76 lead on Rodney Chatman’s six-footer with 3.4 seconds left but freshman James Forrest made a three-pointer, his first of the year, at the buzzer for Georgia Tech.


Raveling seemed stunned at the time, saying, “I don’t mean this to demean James Forrest, but he was probably the last guy in the world that you thought would make that shot, but he made it and that’s all that counts.”

The other direct-elect members announced were Tom Heinsohn, who was already in the Hall of Fame as a Boston Celtics player but was also added Saturday as a coach; Louie Dampier, one of the few players in the ABA for all nine years of its existence; Lindsay Gaze, who has represented Australia in seven Olympics as a player or coach; and John Isaacs, who led the New York Renaissance to the first-ever World Pro Basketball Tournament championship in 1939.

Also announced Saturday were 12 finalists for the Hall of Fame who were not direct-elects and would need to go through a voting process: players Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Kevin Johnson, Lisa Leslie, Dikembe Mutumbo and Jo Jo White; coaches Leta Andrews, John Calipari, Bill Fitch, Robert Hughes and Bo Ryan; and referee Dick Bavetta. The final vote will be announced April 6 before the men’s NCAA championship game.