Lorenzo Romar is a Special Dude

Forget the back-to-back Pac 10 Tournament Championships, the outright title, the Sweet Sixteen appearances, and the four- and five-star recruits: Lorenzo Romar transcends his coaching achievements.  Anyone who has had the pleasure of playing for him, covering him, or just having a conversation with the guy, knows that he's special.

Not special as in he's some sort of a basketball savant or genius or anything like that, but just as a human being and how personable and genuine and honest he is.

While Romar certainly knows the game and how to teach it, it's the relationships he builds with everyone who comes in contact with him that make him so remarkable.  I can honestly say that it's a delight every time I'm able to be around him.  The stories he tells and the way he tells them - I could go to a press conference and just sit and listen to him talk about anything for 30 minutes and be captivated.  In a crowded room full of 20 other journalists, I feel as if he's speaking directly to me.

He's also one of the few people (if not the only guy) I've come across in my admittedly short time reporting who seems to actively care about and invest in the journalists who cover him.  It's built into his psyche; he can't help but want to help, to teach, to collaborate with everyone.  He knows that we have a job to do and that he has a big part to play in us being successful in that job, and he actively seeks to assist us.  Even when tough questions need asking, he answers them thoughtfully and without harboring resentment toward the inquirer.

He's the anti-Ty Willingham.  The only thing those two guys have in common is their skin color.  I never interacted with Kim-Jong-Illingham (stole that from a YouTube commenter) as he was fired before I started working with the people in the UW Athletic Department, but I've heard stories of Willingham going on jogs after practice and making media members wait an hour and a half before holding a press conference.  And then he would pull something like this.  That guy was despicable, but I digress.

Romar is the type who tells stories about his childhood and his playing career.  He weaves together narratives that make those of us in the story-telling business feel embarrassed.  During his press conference last Tuesday, Romar crafted a deft analogy about his two point guards - Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten - in relation to former and current Husky quarterbacks you might have heard of.

"Tony and Abdul to me are like Jake Locker and Keith Price," Romar said. "Jake is, one play can make a highlight for the rest of the year. Keith is just a little more conservative. Takes his time a little more. Not as spectacular but highly efficient. Tony's Jake. He can make just electrifying, electrifying plays, at times."

We should all feel lucky to have Romar touch our lives, as players, reporters, students, and fans.  There's a reason Romar was able to rustle up Mike Jensen, Spencer Hawes, Jon Brockman, Quincy Pondexter, Nate Robinson, Will Conroy, and Brandon Roy for an impromptu scrimmage, even though it now has to be closed.  Guys who play for Romar remain part of the Washington Basketball Family, which is to say his extended family for life.  Such is the coach's impact on them.

Someone asked a question today about how good it will feel to see all those guys back around again and Romar's response was telling.  He talked about how happy it makes him to see four grown sisters with their mom, for example.  He said he loves just seeing families together - whether it's his own or not.

I may just be a lowly intern and I haven't had much one-on-one contact with Romar, but I will definitely take the memories of covering him and the way he treated me and everybody around me wherever I go.  He sets an example we should all strive to follow.

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