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.