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Raftery leaves ESPN, sticks with Big East

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NEW YORK (AP) - Bill Raftery is switching networks to stick with the Big East.

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The popular college basketball commentator will call the reshaped conference's games for new cable network Fox Sports 1. Raftery had worked for ESPN since 1982. He will continue to also call games for CBS.

Fox said Thursday that the former Seton Hall coach will team with play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson for Big East games on FS1, which debuts Aug. 17. Raftery and Johnson previously worked together for CBS.

The old Big East's breakaway basketball schools are keeping the conference's name and signed a media rights deal with Fox in March.

Raftery says he leaves ESPN ``with nothing but terrific memories and friendships.''

He adds: ``I've been associated with the Big East Conference since it began, and I feel the same excitement and anticipation now as I did way back then as the conference is re-born with Fox Sports.''

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