Had a chance to speak tonight with Lorenzo Romar, who was fired Wednesday after 15 seasons as Washington’s men’s basketball coach. Here is what Romar said about this season, his time at UW and his plans for the future.
(Were you surprised?) “I cant’ say I was surprised. I knew that definitely, that could be an option. We talked through some things and I thought maybe we’d be able to get over the hump to come back and coach this team next year. That’s what I wanted. But obviously, she didn’t feel that way, and I can’t fault her. We didn’t get it done at the end of the day.”
(Did you feel the decision was mostly about this season? Or was it more holistic?) “It was more holistic. There were changes that I needed to make myself. I probably spread myself too thin and tried to do too much, and there were areas where there was slippage as a result of it. I’m optimistic that … I did a lot of self-reflection and thought I could fix those areas and come back and be good.”
(Where did that show up?) “Oh, I probably wasn’t consistent enough in being able to demand excellence in all areas, would be what I would say.”
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(Was that a result of who your assistants were?) “No, sometimes, I can get to a point where I just try to take it all on myself, and in a position like this, that’s just not something that’s wise to do. I probably restricted my guys at times, just because I would start moving and doing things.”
(Was that due to the lack of success the last few years?) “It could have been. Just trying to roll up your sleeves a little harder.”
(How disappointed are you to not get the chance to coach this group with Michael Porter Jr.?) “1997 I believe it was, I had a chance, the AD then at UCLA offered me a position but I had just left and had gone to Pepperdine, and there were several guys that had transferred in, and when they offered me the position, I couldn’t take it, because I couldn’t leave those guys. I wouldn’t say I regretted it, but I’ve always looked back and thought, ‘what if?’ In this situation, I understand the decision was made, but I’ll probably always look back and say, ‘what if? What if we could have done that?’”
(How did the players take it?) “It wasn’t easy for any of us, I don’t think. It wasn’t easy for any of us.”
(What is your message for them going forward?) “What I gave them today is, continue to try to do the right things in all areas. Whoever the next coach is, make sure he doesn’t have to coach effort. Make sure that you take care of that yourself, kind of be a self starter. That’s just a couple of the things.”
(Did you plan to bring back Cameron Dollar if you were retained?) “It was a consideration, no doubt.
(Does that add to the ‘what-if?’) “It’s just the whole thing, it wasn’t today. This has been a 2-3 year project in the making, and I thought we would see the fruit of the labor next year, for sure, because that combination of young talent coming in with now more veterans that had been through it, we hadn’t had that in a long time, so that whole situation lends to a ‘what if.’”
(You don’t seem like someone who is done coaching) “No, no. Given the opportunity somewhere that believes we can help their program, yeah. Definitely would look at it. Hopefully it happens.”
(And you’d like to be a head coach, yes?) “Yeah, that would be my preference, yes.”
(And in college?) “Yeah, but you know, you never know, if something else were to happen, other places, it would pique my interest at this point. It didn’t while I was a coach in college.”
(How about a parting shot for UW fans about your time here?) “There were so many people over 15 years that supported us. So many. Fans, unbelievable. The players, man, the players that played for us, one of those proudest moments was to see all these guys come back for the alumni game. That’s one of the main reasons I coach. Obviously the competition, but to be able to be around the players, to help them, all the guys that came through, they were awesome. I just appreciate everybody. I’m not bitter toward anybody. I’m not putting the blame on anybody. It was an experience that I never would have known I could have been a part of, and I appreciate every bit of it.”