Romar Deserves Coach of the Year

Lorenzo Romar should be the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for this season and should be the Husky coach as long as he wants the job. I think he should be rewarded for this fine season with another extended contract and honored by his fellow coaches for the outstanding job he did with his team.

That is the key word here - TEAM - and that is what this Husky group is all about. The last game of the regular season pretty much said it all when the leading scorer only had 16 points. Everyone contributed to the win over the Washington State Cougars and when it was over they had won the championship with their standard stellar defense and an attacking offense.

Taylor Rochestie, the Cougars' outstanding senior guard, did his best in the second half to keep his team close, but even his bombs couldn't keep his team in it. It was mostly because the Huskies had shut him out in the first half with Venoy Overton smothering him. It totally frustrated Rochestie to the point where he started getting a little lippy. Overton does not back down, so telling him to cool it was like throwing gas on fire. He increased his effort.

Jon Brockman probably did more to emphasize team when he took just a few shots to go along with his 18 rebounds. Justin Dentmon contributed his dozen, but he too passed rather than shot a number of times. Then there is Justin Holiday, who did just about everything you can do in basketball besides shoot.

Yes, it was a championship won by an unselfish group of players who have bought into defense first and could care less who is the leading scorer. They know who their scorers are, but it is their collective passing, rebounding and defending that won them this championship - the first outright title in 56 years.

That says a lot about their coaches, but in particular about Lorenzo Romar and his perseverance coming out of last season when his team not only didn't make the NCAA tournament, but were bombed out of the CBI after a lackluster effort.

This was a wonderful season that started with a flop the University of Portland and finished with a net-cutting ceremony against the Cougars. Not only did this run carry the Huskies from almost last to first, but it also carried this city and state from the pits of basketball purgatory to the mountain top in a little over three months.

After losing our Sonics to the slime of Oklahoma City, after watching Husky football totally fall apart in a winless season - not to mention the losing of 100 major league baseball games - the sports fans of western Washington should all send Thank You notes to coach Romar for pulling us out of our collective funk.

This was a great effort by Romar and his staff and that's why he is Coach of the Year. Mike Montgomery did a nice job a Cal in his first year, and did beat the Huskies twice, but his team stumbled in the stretch. And besides, who won the Championship?

Craig Robinson, the President's Brother-in-Law, led Oregon State to some big upsets, but couldn't beat the Huskies. Neither could Tony Bennett, as Romar's Dawgs swept the Cougars for the first time in four years.

Romar built his team around the greatest rebounder in the history of the school and quite arguably the Player of the Year in Brockman. His toughness, tenacity, and power carried this team, and his leadership, along with Dentmon's, was instrumental in the Huskies winning this championship. It's appropriate that they ended up on the All-Pac-10 first team.

Everything was orchestrated by a man who is at Washington because it is his school, his passion and now essentially his city. I don't care what anyone else thinks, Lorenzo Romar is the right choice for Coach of the Year. He succeeded in picking up his team, along with the whole region, carrying it to new and unexpected heights. Remember his team was picked for the second tier of a conference they ended up winning.

Just watching Romar this season, you could see he was taking a more hands-on approach to games. His intensity and his energy was obvious in every game. He was dialed in and he kept his team dialed in with him.

Washington was willed to a championship by their coach and that is why he is the Coach of the Year. Great job, coach!

Now just win about seven more and we'll have a parade for you.


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