They bribed us with a taco bar the night we first met Lorenzo Romar. A Qdoba taco bar, no less, the good stuff. And this was back before Chipotle had taken over the world of fresh express Mexican, when Qdoba was the very best for which any hungry, broke college student could yearn. The muckety-mucks in the UW athletic department were basically begging us to show up and meet the head coach of the men’s basketball team. And, if we were so inclined, maybe stick around for the game, too.
It was the middle of Romar’s second season at Washington, one that had begun rather inauspiciously, before taking a more promising turn of late. The streaky Dawgs had rattled off five straight losses to open Pac-10 conference play, then abruptly reversed course and managed five consecutive wins. A defeat at UCLA halted the winning streak, and then it was back home to where we now found ourselves, in the presence of the ground beef and seasoned chicken upon which we feasted.
We sat and scarfed down our meal in Hec Edmundson Pavilion’s auxiliary gym as we waited for the coach to arrive. A staffer let us know Romar was on his way, and that he’d be taking a few questions in the limited time we had together before tipoff. Seconds later, a door flew open and there stood the guest of honor.