In a bold move that makes Arizona’s coaching staff the most experienced in the Pac-12 — and one of the most feared in recruiting circles nationally — former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is the Wildcats’ new associate head coach.
The school announced today the hiring of Romar, who was the dean of conference coaches before his firing at the end of the season. Romar, 58, spent 15 seasons as the Huskies’ head coach, amassing a record of 298-196 with three Pac-12 coach of the year honors.
Miller is now the most tenured coach in the Pac-12 entering his ninth season at Arizona in November.
“It’s an exciting day for Arizona Basketball to be able to welcome Lorenzo Romar and his family to our basketball family,” Miller said in a release submitted by the university’s media relations department. “Lorenzo’s accomplishments in this game speak for themselves, including his successful tenure as the head coach at Washington for the last 15 seasons.
“However, his dedication to his players, passion for this game and impeccable character is what everybody that knows him loves about him. He will no doubt make a significant impact in all aspects of our basketball program as we continue to build and improve in all that we do.”
Arizona junior-to-be Allonzo Trier, who announced this week he will return to the Wildcats and not test the NBA draft waters, sent out this Tweet showing his excitement over Romar’s hire:
— Allonzo Trier (@ISO_ZO) April 15, 2017
Romar coached 13 NBA Draft picks during his time in Seattle, including 10 first-round selections. He led the Huskies to six NCAA Tournament appearances and is the second-winningest coach in program history.
The 2005 Husky team finished with a record of 29-6, tying the program record for most wins in a season. Washington won a pair of regular season conference champions under Romar while winning back-to-back Pac-12 Tournaments in 2010 and 2011 (of which Isaiah Thomas made a game-winning jumper to beat Arizona).
Great move by Sean Miller to are Lorenzo Romar to his staff. Cats will be consensus preseason No. 1 team in the fall.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) April 15, 2017
Romar was a longtime coaching rival of Lute Olson and Miller in the Pac-12. Olson told Pac-12 Networks in November that he maintains a good friendship with Romar and former Stanford and Cal coach Mike Montgomery.
“Of all the potential opportunities that were out there for me, joining the Arizona program was the one that was the most appealing,” Romar said. “I truly believe Sean Miller is one of the best coaches in America. The opportunity to join him, his staff and the rich tradition of Arizona Basketball is something that I’m extremely excited about.”
Romar’s overall head coaching record includes 391 wins over 21 seasons encompassing his time at Pepperdine (1996-99) and Saint Louis (1999-2002). He became the first coach in Saint Louis history to win the conference tournament and earn a NCAA Tournament berth in his first season as head coach.
Romar played at Washington from 1978 to 1980 before playing five seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks. His appointment to the UA staff comes after Joe Pasternack left to become the head coach at UC Santa Barbara last week.
The reason Markelle Fultz (the likely No. 1 pick) went to UW was because of Lorenzo Romar … he has that kind of pull as a recruiter
— Matt Moreno (@MattGOAZCATS) April 15, 2017
Arizona’s coaching staff features three members who have been head coaches — Miller, Romar and Mark Phelps (former coach at Drake). Miller’s staff also has recruiter extraordinaire Book Richardson, known for his ability to attract East coast recruits to Tucson such as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Rawle Alkins.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.