Washington Huskies: Is the End Near for Lorenzo Romar?

Dec 7, 2016; Spokane, WA, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar looks on against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2016; Spokane, WA, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar looks on against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /

After a losing start to conference play it looks like the Washington Huskies are in for another long season, leading to more questions about Lorenzo Romar’s future as head coach.

When we sat down for an exclusive chat with Lorenzo Romar ahead of the season, we talked about pressure. After five seasons without an appearance at the NCAA Tournament, surely there had to be some pressure.

At the time, the Washington Huskies‘ head coach gave an intriguing response: “It depends on how you define pressure – when you take about a pressure where I can’t sleep and I’m going to start drinking or smoking, this is nothing like that.

“Pressure in terms of you’re a competitor, you’re leading this program, you want it to be the best it can be, there’s a competitive internal drive that wants to make sure you get there. But it’s not pressure, it’s competitive drive – there’s a difference.”

Certainly, it as a fascinating insight into the mindset of Romar. However, regardless of how little pressure he may feel, it doesn’t change the fact he is at a crossroads in his coaching career.

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The 2016-17 campaign was already a struggle for the Huskies, after they went 7-5 through the first 12 games. Now though, the season is in danger of falling apart completely, after starting the Pac-12 schedule with a 0-2 record.

In their most recent game, the Huskies were always going to have their hands full with an Oregon Ducks team ranked 15th in the nation. However, there was still something alarming about how they faded during the second half, on the way to a 83-61 loss on home court.

Even worse than this however, was Romar’s admission after the game, when speaking to Percy Allen of The Seattle Times and the rest of the media: “We’re a little fragile when we hit adversity.

“We haven’t been able to fight through adversity yet. We’re going to need to, because we’re about to go on the road here.”

In that respect, the three-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year hit the nail on the head. Consider that after playing nine of their first 14 games at home, nine of the final 16 will come on the road.

What has been particularly concerning about the Huskies this season, is how they have performed against supposedly lesser opponents. Losing to the likes of Yales, TCU (twice), Nevada and Washington State is just not acceptable.

Washington Huskies
Dec 11, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz (20) talks with head coach Lorenzo Romar during a first half break in play against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavili. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Further, you can’t even use the excuse of Markelle Fultz finding his feet. Fultz has pretty much hit the floor (court) running, proving he’s as good as advertised.

As such, Romar’s critics are only gaining more ammunition with every passing game. The question is, can he still find a way to turn things around, or are we witnessing the close stages of his coaching tenure with the Huskies?

No one is denying how much the 58-year has achieved during his time in charge. He revived the fortunes of the program and has overseen six trips to March Madness, including three appearances in the “Sweet Sixteen”.

However, at some point, you have to start looking past what Romar has done, because it’s just that – in the past. And don’t believe this is easy for anyone in the media, who to a man call him one of the most friendly and genuine people you will ever deal with in sports.

Regardless, it’s becoming harder to ignore the constant mental lapses on defense, or the increasingly staccato offensive sets. Somethings not right with the Huskies.

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Again, it’s tough to write that, knowing how much Romar has meant to the Huskies. And yet, this is a team which has not had a winning record in Pac 12 since 2012, despite seeing five players picked in the first round of the NBA draft during that span.

This reflects poorly on the South Gate, California native. If his players can’t do better against less-talented opponents, it is only natural to question his coaching skills. (Seriously, I almost hate myself for putting these thoughts on here.)

Whatever happens, one thing we can be pretty sure of is that Romar will not walk away willingly. Going back to our conversation before the season, he said: “I have no intention of quitting now.

“At some point, I may no longer have the same desire. I don’t know when that’s going to be, but I hope it isn’t for a very long time.”

Unfortunately for Romar, it likely won’t matter if he still has the desire or not. If results don’t improve soon, UW athletic director Jennifer Cohen will have the unenviable task of ending his association with the program.

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What’s your take on Romar? Are you prepared to continue supporting him or do you believe it’s time for a change? Share your thoughts in the comments section.