Turner talks contract

BOISE, ID - Lorenzo Romar was only half-way through his first contract at the University of Washington, but three years wasn't enough for UW Athletic Director Todd Turner. He wanted to lock up the men's hoops coach for a lot longer, and Thursday he was able to do that. At approximately 10AM Mountain Standard Time, Romar agreed to an eight-year contract that is expected to keep in at Montlake for the forseeable future.

"If I could have put handcuffs in it, I would have," laughed Turner about the contract, thrilled to bring the news to Washington fans and Tyee members all across the country. "Obviously Lorenzo has done a fantastic job with our basketball program. Not only this year, but changing the culture of Washington basketball. I think he's got our program headed in the right direction. And the great thing about this is that he really wanted to do this. He's a Husky and he's demonstrated his loyalty and affection for the University and we are awfully happy that we were able to return that loyalty."

The terms, which were not released at the time of the announcement, are expected to keep Romar in the 75th-percentile of DI coaches. "We want his compensation package to be around what the top-25 or 30 coaches in America get and he's well within that," said Turner, who also explained that Romar's new deal was structured much like the one recently signed by new Head Football Coach Tyrone Willingham.

"That's the model we're going to follow at Washington," said Turner. It's very incentive-laden, and has a very competitive guarantee but rewards him for running a quality program throughout - not just winning games, but also graduating students and making sure that we're in compliance with NCAA rules and regulations."

Some may question the timing of the announcement, but to everyone involved there's never a bad time to announce a new eight-year pact. Negotiations started roughly a month ago and between practices, meetings and the rest they put it all together.

"I told him that we were very interested in trying to solidify a deal long-term, but that we did not want to be a distraction to him as he went through the end of the season," Turner said. "We would work with his time-frame and when he was ready to talk about the next step that would be ready to do it. And we didn't want anything in the tournament to affect how we went about doing this. We were very focused on this."

This new contract will take effect April 1st and will supercede his former deal. Turner also talked about the assistant coaches and what will be done to take care of them. "We did address issues with the assistants and we were able to do what Lorenzo asked us to do," he added. "Assistant coaches also want to be head coaches, and that's part of Lorenzo's role, to train them to take that next step. And we've got some good ones that certainly could take that next step."

But at the heart of this hoops renaissance was getting a contract with Romar done, and Turner wasted no time in making it so. It helped that he had a willing partner to seal the deal. "I knew all along that this is where he wanted to be, we just wanted to be fair," said Turner. "We wanted to demonstrate to him, his staff and our players that this is our guy.

"His love of Washington sets him apart. He's as good as we could do, he's as good as anybody can do."

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