Why Lorenzo Romar Should Never Lose His Job

Yes. There are moments when Lorenzo Romar gets outcoached. As fans, we’ve all experienced those moments. A turnover out of a timeout, a broken half-court offense, the veritable lack of anything that would resemble an inbounds play. We know. We’re not blind. We’re not dumb. We’re educated to the point of recognizing deficiencies. And if the head coach of the University of Washington men’s basketball team has one glaring deficiency, it is his ability to sketch up the X’s-and-O’s.

There’s no denying that this is perhaps Coach Romar’s greatest weakness. At times, this shortcoming can be maddeningly frustrating. You watch Romar’s Huskies try to combat a 2-3 zone defense, for example, and you want to rip your hair out. In the heat of the moment, you get angry. You get upset. You say stupid things. You tell your buddy that anyone could do a better job than this guy, that anyone could game-plan better than this. You might even call for the man’s head.

Most of us cool off at some point. We wind down, move on with our lives, get over the losses, and re-embrace our coach and our squad the next time out.

But there are some of you who can’t readjust. Those of you who legitimately believe that Romar should be fired because of these faults. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course. But before you go around spouting off your point of view, allow me the opportunity to sway you. Because I’ll admit that I’ve wavered on this subject. I haven’t always been steadfast. There have been times when the game-plan — or lack thereof — has absolutely disgusted me. Times when I’ve questioned my loyalty to the coaching staff and its approach. Times when I’ve wondered whether we were headed down the right path.

I’ve been there. And I can honestly say that at this point in time, even just two days after a heartbreaking NCAA Tournament loss, I believe in Lorenzo Romar. I believe in the plan, I believe in the future, and I believe that this man should have an office on Montlake Boulevard for as long as he wants. Why? Simple. Talent and recruiting.

The fact of the matter is there are very few coaches in America who can recruit the talent that Coach Romar does. Think about it for a minute. Picture Seattle in the wintertime. Rainy, cold, windy, gray, all-around miserable. The sun gets lazy, doesn’t wake up ’til 7:30 in the morning, goes to bed by 4:00 in the afternoon. If you’re from here, you likely want to leave town during the winter. And if you’re from out of state? My God. Why would you ever want to travel to Seattle this time of year?

This is when Romar sells teenagers on the University of Washington. This is when they make their visits, this is when they come to campus, this is when they fly into our wonderful municipality. In the midst of a chilly, dark, damp purgatory.

And yet in spite of all that, they play for this man and his program. Coach Romar goes out and brings in some of the finest athletes in the nation, convincing them to call the northwest corner of the country their home for the next four years. He does something that few of his predecessors were able to do. He does something that few coaches in America are able to do in spite of their surroundings. It’s one thing to sell someone on summers in Seattle. But to sell someone — a high school kid, no less — on a Seattle winter? The Chamber of Commerce would kill to have that kind of ability.

In any situation, you take the good with the bad. You married your wife knowing you’d have to clean every now and then, let her pick out your nice clothes, and attend menial social events that conflict with a game you could be watching. In turn, you get to have sex whenever you want. Or, I guess, more like whenever she wants. Well…the important thing to remember is that you get to have free, legal, consensual sex. Sometimes. So, you know, there’s that.

The point is, there are trade-offs. You going out to dinner with the in-laws during the playoffs is what you’re willing to relinquish in exchange for the occasional romp in the sack. It’s a give-and-take scenario. And it lends itself to coaching, as well.

If Coach Romar spends sixty-percent of his time recruiting and only forty-percent of his time scripting plays, the result may be a talented ballclub that stubs its toe every now and then in a half-court set. On the flip side, if those numbers were to be reversed, we might have a talent-less squad that scratches and claws its way to a postseason berth every few years.

That said, we all know that talent wins out. It just does. You look at championship teams and none of them lack talent. Occasionally, you’ll see a VCU or a George Mason work its way deep into the NCAA Tournament, but we treat these programs as anomalies because of that lack of discernible talent.

Coach Romar relates to the young adults he brings into the Washington fold. Talk to him for five minutes and you’ll walk away a fan. He has something that even the best play-caller would kill for. He has charisma and that trusting nature about him. And on top of all that, he’s genuine. The man isn’t telling you these things as part of a sales pitch; he truly believes in his word. That authenticity is what keeps the players and their families buying into a program that was at rock bottom before Romar returned to lead his alma mater.

Firing Lorenzo Romar would set the Huskies back a number of years. The fact that the thought of termination is even entertained in conjunction with the man’s name is ludicrous. Face it: it won’t happen. The coach is here to stay.

Give him an extension, put a gold plate on his office door, write his name in stone. The Washington Huskies are Lorenzo Romar’s basketball team. For now and forever.

10 thoughts on “Why Lorenzo Romar Should Never Lose His Job”

  1. Well said. Another thing I love about Lorenzo is that he’s such a good guy that every other coach (with the exception of Mark Few) loves him. He’s a guy that most coaches around the country know and root for (as long as it’s not against their team’s best interest).

    That, and he’s a snazzy dresser.

  2. I think his best attribute is he gets his guys to graduate and while he doesn’t get a lot of 5 star recruits, he is able to develop and grow these kids into young men and solid ball players and keep us competitive and entertaining year in and year out.

  3. I don’t know how you can say recruiting is his Number 1 strong point if we constantly miss out on those top recruits year in year out. Yes, he finds guys with potential that will contribute to the program for 4 years but I think until he gets past that sweet 16 we will continue to have trouble getting the top guys.
    Also, I’m trying to figure out how serious this article is about the whole weather issue. That was a joke right because I highly doubt its the sunshine that attracts players to UNC/Duke/Kentucky/Kansas etc. Rain is something you would use as an excuse for not getting a recruit because your school isn’t good enough.
    Alex, didn’t you write something about how losing should not be okay. Well how many years do we give Romar until just being good is no longer okay? I’m not a Romar hater at all, just wondering if he’s the one to take us to great.

  4. Think about how Lorenzo has developed his current Senior class. Justin Holiday was nothing when he got here, Venoy was an afterthought, and MBA, well, we all know about him. All three of then graduated with great careers. He can turn ordinary players into great ones.

  5. I’m torn between what Alex wrote and what Sam said. Romar is great. He has turned this program from an afterthought to a competing program. The problem is there have been a lot of missing on big name recruits who could really help the program take it to the next level. We keep almost doing great things, but have not done that yet. A few Sweet 16’s is nice, but I am not going to get complacent about that. Romar needs to get a squad beyond that “wall” and really make some noise. No mid season slumps. No beginning of the year road troubles. Definitely no end of the season home debacles. I love Romar, but if improvement isn’t seen you can’t tell me more people will not start to question his tenure. People will begin to see the Sweet 16 as an expected event and when we don’t achieve beyond that, that is when people start to get frustrated.

    That being said, losing to UNC by 3 in a game we should have won is no shameful way to go out. Yes we should have won, but honestly, I don’t think it was an X’s and O’s mistake. It was players making mistakes, not the coaching staff. We should have been in the Sweet 16 this year and likely the Elite 8 with a nice match up against Marquette, but our players let us down this game. Romar was able to coach well against a very experienced and winning coach in Roy Williams. Romar may have had some coaching slips in his years, but I don’t think this was one of them.

    So in the end, my feelings on Romar are these. He is a good coach, a pretty good recruiter, and a class act. He develops players well, but hasn’t succeeded in getting a ton of big name players. Right now, I wouldn’t want any other coach for our team. I believe he has the tools to take us to the next level, I’m just wondering how soon it will happen. I don’t want to wait another 10 years for a team like this season to roll around. Honestly, next years squad will likely be weaker than this season’s and look at the flubs we had to deal with. Sure we dealt with a lot of injuries and off the court issues, but our remaining players were more than talented enough to beat WSU, OSU, and UO on the road and certainly skilled enough to beat USC and WSU at home. The same team beat USC and UCLA on the road and took a 1 point loss to UA on a controversial call. That takes coaching, it also takes the right mind set from the players. So there is more to this whole issue than just the staff. Its about the players and in a way, how the staff prepares the players. If I was Romar, I don’t know if I would allow a twitter page. It seems like a huge distraction to me, especially all the attention our players pay to fans and foes who bad mouth them. I.T. retweeting all the “haters” is completely stupid. Why even justify them with a response? If I am Romar, I would shut that down during the season. Its November through March. 5 months out of the year, max. A small price to pay for a college education and shot at the big league.

    Man, I went on some tangents. Oh well. Keep Romar until he shows he doesn’t have what it takes to elevate this team to the next level.

  6. Nathan,

    You could make an argument that Venoy regressed while he was here, having a terrible Senior year. Holliday, though his shooting is much improved has regressed on the defensive side of the ball. The only one i think improved significantly is MBA

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