Romar agrees to become Washington's hoops coach

Lorenzo Romar made it official tonight. The men's basketball coach for the St. Louis Billikens has agreed to a multi-year deal that makes him the new head coach at the University of Washington

"This was probably the hardest decision me and my family had to make for ourselves," Romar said just minutes ago at a press conference, holding back tears.

"If it weren't for my alma mater calling, I'd still be coaching at St. Louis University."

Romar is an obvious choice, but wasn't the first choice of Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges. Missouri head coach Quin Snyder, Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and Minnesota head coach Dan Monson all bowed out of the coaching search before Hedges offered the former Husky hoopster.

Lorenzo played for the Huskies under legendary coach Marv Harshman for two years after transferring from Cerritos College in 1978. As a senior he was named team captain as the team earned an NIT berth. He was twice voted the Huskies' Most Inspirational Player by his teammates.

It was his close tie to Washington that swung the tide for Lorenzo. "It just so happened that the school where I played collegiate basketball at needed a coach. There was a lot of prayer with my wife and we decided that this was something that we needed to do."

Romar is known as a top recruiter, especially during his tenure as the top assistant under Jim Harrick at UCLA from 1992-1996. There he recruited such talent as Toby Bailey, Cameron Dollar, omm'A Givens, J.R. Henderson, Kris Johnson, Brandon Loyd, Jelani McCoy and Charles O'Bannon.

Before becoming the head coach at St. Louis, Romar coached at Pepperdine for three years, taking the Waves to the 1999 NIT with a 19-13 record.

His career coaching mark is 91-85. Romar became the first Billiken head coach to win a conference championship and earn an NCAA Tournament bid in his first season.

There's no question that Romar was the best available candidate left in the coaching search of those who had officially interviewed with Hedges.

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