Jeff Rafferty begins his eighth season on the University of Delaware men’s basketball coaching staff in 2014-15.
Rafferty was promoted to the title of associate head coach prior to the 2013-14 season.
Rafferty helped lead the Blue Hens to one of the best seasons in school history a year ago as Delaware finished 25-10, tied for the second most wins in a season in school history, and won its first 11 regular season conference games en route to the program’s first CAA regular season title. The Blue Hens secured their eighth regular season league title in school history, while UD’s 14 conference wins tied for the second most in a single season.
UD won 13 consecutive games from Jan. 1 through Feb. 12, tied for the second longest streak in school history, while the Blue Hens’ 11 road victories on the year also ranked second in program history.
Delaware then won three straight contests in the CAA tournament in Baltimore, including a dramatic 75-74 comeback win over William & Mary in the final, to claim the fifth conference tournament title in school history.
The Blue Hens earned the No. 13 seed in the East Regional, battling fourth-seeded and 11th ranked Michigan State before falling to the Spartans, 93-78, in an NCAA Tournament second round game in Spokane, Wash.
Rafferty was instrumental in the development of guard Devon Saddler, who set a school record and currently ranks sixth in CAA history with 2,222 career points. Saddler earned All-CAA honors during all four years of his career, and was named to the 2014 Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America Team.
Saddler was joined on the first team All-CAA and All-District 10 teams by fellow senior Davon Usher, who set a UD single season record by scoring 679 points during the 2013-14 season.
The Blue Hens’ resurgence began in 2011-12 as Delaware posted a record of 18-14, finished fifth in the CAA with a record of 12-6, and qualified for post-season play. The overall wins, conference wins, and conference finish were all career bests to that point under Ross, who led the Hens to the post-season for the first time since 2001 with a first round meeting with two-time defending NCAA runner-up Butler in the College Basketball Insider (CBI) Tournament.
The individual awards were plentiful for the Blue Hens as Saddler, the league’s second leading scorer at 18.8 points per game, and Jamelle Hagins each earned second team All-CAA and second team NABC All-District laurels while Jarvis Threatt earned a spot on the CAA All-Rookie team.
Hagins, who set the school record for career blocked shots, was named to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Defensive All-American team while Threatt earned a spot on the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Freshman All-American squad.
The Blue Hens improved on those marks in 2012-13, finishing 19-14 overall and placing second in the CAA with a 13-5 league mark, both program highs up to that point for UD since joining the conference. The Blue Hens then advanced to the CAA Tournament Semifinals for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Included among those victories was a win at Virginia, the program’s first over an Atlantic Coast Conference school in 50 years, as Delaware advanced to the semfinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.
Saddler continued his impressive career, leading the CAA with 19.9 points per game while earning first team All-Conference in addition to NABC and USBWA All-District honors. Hagins, who became the school’s career rebounding leader, was tabbed the CAA Defensive Player of the Year while also earning second team All-CAA and NABC All-District accolades.
Hagins, who ranks among the CAA career leaders in blocks and rebounds, was selected to participate in the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational following his outstanding career.
Rafferty, who was instrumental in the recruitment of both Hagins and Saddler, was named to the Top 10 Mid-Major Assistant Coaches list by FOXSports.com in 2008 while RecruitDirt.com selected him as the CAA’s top assistant coach in the fall of 2012.
Delaware went 13-19 during the 2008-09 season, posting victories over VCU and George Mason. The Blue Hens went 7-24 during the 2009-10 campaign, including wins over America East champion Vermont and Patriot League runner-up Lafayette.
Delaware posted a seven-win improvement the next year, going 14-17 overall and placing seventh in the CAA with an 8-10 league mark. The Blue Hens won five straight games early in the campaign, including an impressive home victory over eventual league champion Old Dominion. Delaware advanced to the CAA Tournament Quarterfinals following a victory over Northeastern in the first round, while Saddler was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Rafferty served as Delaware’s head coach in the Blue Hens’ 70-63 win over Towson on December 3, 2007 in UD’s conference opener.
While Rafferty coached at the University of New Hampshire from 2005-07, the Wildcats went 12-17 overall and 8-8 in the America East during his first year in Durham and followed with a 10-20 mark including a 6-10 conference record in his second.
Prior to arriving at New Hampshire, Rafferty spent four seasons as the top assistant coach at UMass-Lowell. The River Hawks went 94-30 in Rafferty’s four seasons in Lowell, capturing both the Northeast-10 Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2003 and 2004 while making back-to-back trips to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Rafferty spent the 2000-01 season at Union College, and was an assistant coach at Division III Springfield College for two seasons from 1998-2000. While at Springfield, Rafferty helped his alma mater go 40-17 including a 16-8 mark in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletics Conference (NEWMAC) while earning his master’s degree in sports management. During Rafferty’s second season Springfield went 21-9, captured the NEWMAC Tournament championship, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
Rafferty, who graduated from Springfield in 1997, served one season as an assistant coach at Texas-Pan American in 1997-98 and began his career by serving an internship with the NBA’s Boston Celtics. He has the uncommon distinction of working at all three NCAA division levels, as well as the NBA.
Rafferty and his wife, Whitney, have two sons, Patrick and Brendan, and a daughter, Kaitlyn.