Don’t Be Stupid: The Huskies Should Never Fire Lorenzo Romar

This link was brought to my attention over the holidays thanks to Percy Allen’s blog.  I’ve been a little too under the weather to properly rage against this moron.  But, as I sit under a pile of snotty tissues, next to a bottomless glass of orange juice, I think I’m ready to give this asinine notion the respect it deserves.

Which is quite the shame, because this is the kind of opinionated, lack-of-facts, straight-from-the-gut type of blogging I tend to respect.  I don’t need a blog to tell me the fucking news stories of the day!  I want to know what you THINK!

Of course, this guy who writes for Rant Sports (seriously, who’s ever heard of Rant Sports?  Come on!  This gets picked up by the Seattle Times Husky Basketball Blog?), he’s entirely off-base.

Here, let me cherry-pick some of the stupidest lines:

The school itself has some of the best facilities in the conference and have a decent history. This isn’t some middling FCS program trying to go big time.

OK, first of all, these facilities were a JOKE before Romar got here.  You know why the school was able to improve those facilities?  Through Romar’s success.

Also?  “A decent history”?  You’re joking, right?  What history would that be?  You mean the TEN times we made it into the NCAA Tournament?  You mean that ONE time we made it to a Final Four?  I’ve known some middling programs in my day; the Washington Huskies before Romar were BOTTOM-FEEDERS.  Get your head out of Bob Bender’s ass, his teams weren’t that sweet either.

For the record, while the Huskies pre-Romar went to 10 total NCAA Tournaments in however many DECADES of existence, the Huskies with Romar have gone to the Tourney 6 times in 10 seasons.  Pretty fucking okay?  Pretty fucking okay.  Moving on.

Last year, he had two first round NBA draft picks and still couldn’t make the NCAA tournament. His teams racked up gaudy win numbers against the mediocre PAC-12 but were left out because they couldn’t win any of their big non conference games. Romar was part of the reason.

So, he had two first round picks in the NBA draft.  Let’s start with that nugget of information.  How many other schools had more than one player taken in the first round last year?  Let’s see, there was Kentucky, UConn, North Carolina, Syracuse, Duke, and Vanderbilt.  Now, if you ask my opinion, I’m going to tell you those are PROBABLY some of the best basketball programs in the fucking WORLD.  Again, just one man’s opinion.  But to have multiple first round picks come to your school at the same time … that’s pretty fucking impressive.  And, not for nothing, but Terrence Ross didn’t come out of high school a polished diamond.  It took him a year to get his feet wet.  A year of experience in Romar’s program.

But, you’re right.  Couldn’t make the NCAA Tournament.  Although, it’s not exactly our fault that the Pac-12 was at its lowest point in the conference’s history.  When you’ve got to try and bank on a small handful of non-conference games against quality opposition, you’re going to be at a disadvantage come At-Large time.  RPI is a bitch, know what I’m sayin’?

Still, I wouldn’t say Romar was the problem, at all.  He consistently, year after year, gets the very BEST out of his players.  Oftentimes, players other schools wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.  He doesn’t create the schedule.  He just gets his teams ready to compete.

Year in and year out, he’s one of the worst “X and O’s” coaches in college basketball.

I can’t argue with that.  Not because he’s right, but because it’s an impossible argument to prove.  Are you sitting there, watching every game at every school in ALL of college basketball?  Are you tracking the plays every single coach runs throughout the country?  You must have the best college basketball cable package in the known universe and one of the best time machines ever created.  Saying Romar is “one of the worst X and O’s coaches in college basketball” is like saying Uncle Rico’s tape is pretty much the worst video ever made.  Like anyone could even know that!

He’s survived solely on athletes and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

Oh?  You mean like all those “athletes” on Kentucky, UConn, North Carolina, Syracuse, Duke, and Vanderbilt?  THOSE athletes?  Those athletes that every great basketball program needs to succeed?  Good programs have athletes, everybody!  It’s a fact of life!  Talented players who can run fast, jump high, and shoot basketballs.  Hell, it’s almost like Lorenzo Romar is trying to build a basketball program or something!

This year’s roster includes highly rated players in Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox.

Highly rated?  In what universe, exactly?  I know Abdul Gaddy was highly-rated coming out of high school, but he’s largely been a disappointment.  I wouldn’t blame Romar for that, though.  Romar has done the best he can with a kid who just isn’t elite.  It happens.  Sometimes the blue-chip, 4-star athletes don’t pan out.  Then again, this writer has something against athletes, so maybe that’s part of the problem?  As for Suggs and Wilcox, they are spot-up shooters at best.  They are role players being forced into a situation where they have to be stars; it’s a bad combo.

I will readily admit, this 2012/2013 team is not good.  This is certainly a down-year in every sense of the phrase.  The Huskies have no one who can post-up, the Huskies have no one who can drive the lane and score, the Huskies have no one who can consistently get to the free throw line (except Aziz, and he’s one of the worst free throw shooters in the country).  This team is a trainwreck!  It’s the same reason why the Pac-12/Pac-10 has been a trainwreck for the last few years:  all the talent has fled to the NBA.  The coffers are barren!  But, by all accounts, reinforcements are on the way.  Look out, though, the reinforcements might be … *shudder* … athletes!

Longtime head coach Lorenzo Romar is still living pretty on the Brandon Roy-Nate Robinson days. Problem is, this is 2012, and his team is going nowhere. The time is now for the Huskies to make a change at the top.

You’ve got me there.  Those Brandon Roy/Nate Rob days were pretty fucking glorious.  But, I would think if you’re going to bash Romar about ANYTHING, isn’t it pretty obvious where he has failed this University?  How about the fact that he has yet to get beyond the Sweet 16, in spite of the fact that he had some pretty fucking good teams back in those glory days?

Of course, I would argue some of his more recent teams (with Brockman and Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter) were pretty glorious too.  Again, he’s leading this university in NCAA Tourney appearances (good), but he’s not getting past the first game of the second weekend (bad).  There’s your free shot at Romar and you blew it!

I will say this again:  the Washington Huskies are not a nationally elite program.  The fact that Lorenzo Romar has brought in ANY of the talent he’s brought in is a testament to his abilities as a recruiter.  You come to Seattle, coach for a school with no history, and try to get 17 and 18 year old kids to come here from California and Florida and the Midwest!  When there are so many other schools (like those listed earlier, and like many others NOT listed) – even in our own conference – who are more desirable for their track record, their location, and their chances to make the NBA.  You let me know how you do!

Now, CAN the Washington Huskies be a nationally elite program?  Sure they can.  It’s going to take more than the recent decade of success, though.  It’s going to take many, many decades of success.  You know how you get that success?  Continuity.  What do some of the greatest schools of all time have in common?  Duke, Syracuse, UConn, North Carolina, Arizona for a while there … they all had or have head coaches who were with them FOREVER.  Those universities committed to their elite head coaches because they believed in what those men were trying to build.  They didn’t rip everything apart thanks to a down year here and there.  They waited.  They let their legendary head coaches work.  And in the end, they’ve been rewarded handsomely.

You know what the biggest problem is in sports?  Impatience.  When you have a great thing going – especially in college – you ride it out for as long as possible.  Oh, you’re upset that some other schools or professional teams might be sniffing around Coach Romar?

Finally, loyalty is a two way street. While the university signed him to a 10 year contract two seasons ago he has still flirted with the idea of leaving. The Illinois Fighting Illini and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves were supposedly interested. I call his bluff and let him go.

Really?  You’d let him go, huh?  Before I get ahead of myself, just because someone else gives you a job offer (or even hints at a job offer) doesn’t mean you’re not loyal.  By the way, has Romar ACCEPTED any of these job offers?  If my understanding of basic logic is worth anything, I would venture a guess that he has not.  And therefore, Romar has been VERY loyal to this university.

I, for one, want other schools and professional teams after my head coach.  That means he’s doing a good job.  My biggest nightmare is the day some NFL team hires Steve Sarkisian away from the Husky football team.

It’s called “building a program” for a reason.  If you fire a local legend, only to replace him with some “up and coming young coach”, you’re not building anything.  You’re tearing everything down only to RE-build all over again.  That’s dumb.  Let Romar do his thing.  You’ll feel like a fool when he starts getting some real results.

Look back at all the players Romar has gotten into the NBA.  All the players who have improved from absolute DISASTERS when they were Freshman, to all-conference players as Seniors.  Brockman, Pondexter, Thomas, MBA; hell, look at where Brandon Roy was when he started vs. where he was when he finished!  Improvement, across the board.  Players enter the University of Washington as unmolded blobs of clay.  Nothing but swinging-dick athletes who are nothing but raw.  Lorenzo Romar molds them into stars.  He consistently challenges the best teams in the Pac-10/12 and finds the Huskies near the top more often than near the bottom.  If that’s not a great head coach, then I’ve got some news for you.

Not that I would ever advocate for what I’m about to say, but if you’re going to fire Lorenzo Romar just to bring in someone fresh, you don’t do it for some “up and coming young coach”.  You do it for John Calipari or Rick Pitino, or even Baylor head coach Scott Drew (who probably would’ve been the hottest head coaching commodity before the latest scandals).  You want to go that extra mile?  Sometimes, you gotta get your hands dirty.  How many schools has Calipari left in his wake with all his violations?  Is that what you’re after?  Because that’s probably what it would take if you decide to fire Romar.

My opinion:  you stick with Romar.  The man has earned a little confidence.  One bad season isn’t worth throwing away your entire program.  Let the man do his thing.

One thought on “Don’t Be Stupid: The Huskies Should Never Fire Lorenzo Romar

  1. Well said! I hate the “we could do better fans”. Tell me who is gonna be better and I’ll listen. Most programs (minus the royalty – KU, UNC, DUKE, etc.) have a bad year every now an then, but firing your coach for one or even two so-so years is idiotic. Romar is a good coach and has been great for our program and has recruited better than anyone we have ever had including Bender (he had 2 good years and the rest was trash). As a basketball junky do I occasionally disagree with his decisions yes I do, but I also disagreed when he put so much faith in Will Conroy early in his career and when he continued to feed the rock to Pondexter his sophomore year when he was struggling. He has built a good program with an enthusiastic fan base from one that could hardly sell tickets in the cheap seats. If two mediocre years turns into 3, 4, 5 years we can talk, but ask some of the other Pac-12 schools how firing guys quick has worked out for them.

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