Lorenzo Romar was fired on Wednesday after 15 seasons as the head coach at Washington. Romar won 298 games with the Huskies, but most of that success game between 2003 and 2012. This past season, Romar’s squad finished 9-22 (2-16), second to last in the Pac-12.
The record is bad on its own, but the real disappointment is that this was the lone season that UW will have freshman star Markelle Fultz. A major recruiting win for Romar, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game to lead the Huskies. Fultz may very well go #1 in the upcoming NBA Draft (he’s already declared for it), which would make him the second straight top pick to miss the NCAA Tournament.
Recruiting has never been an issue for Romar. The list of NBA players from Washington is impressive: Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Spencer Hawes, Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten, C.J. Wilcox, Marquese Chriss, Dejounte Murray and now Fultz. But the on-court success has long gone – the Huskies haven’t played in the NCAA Tournament since 2011 despite six of the players listed above playing since then.
Looking forward, Washington will need a coach that can handle both the recruiting and the coaching chops needed to succeed in the Pac-12. UW and Cal will likely look at some of the same candidates, including Nevada’s Eric Musselman and Saint Marys’ Randy Bennett. Other names include Leon Rice, Kevin Keatts and T.J. Otzelberger.
Also of importance is incoming freshman star Michael Porter, Jr, who’s dad – Michael, Sr – was hired by Romar as an assistant coach this past offseason.
Will the next coach be able to keep the Porters in the fold? It’s fairly clear that Porter Jr. was committing to the coaching staff more so than the program, so it is possible he will seek a release.
Missouri would be a sensible landing place, especially after signing Cuonzo Martin to a 7-year contract on Wednesday afternoon. They were once the favorite to land Porter out of his school, as Michael Sr. was an assistant with the Tigers’ women’s team and Michael Jr. was a star at Father Tolton HS in Columbia.