The reported reunion between Lorenzo Romar and Pepperdine is now official, as the university announced on Monday that it has re-hired Romar as head basketball coach.
“My comfort level with Steve Potts and President (Andrew) Benton played a huge role in my decision to return to Pepperdine,” Romar said in the team’s press release. “I grew up in Southern California, and at this point in my career it was my preference to stay on the West Coast. The Christian mission that Pepperdine stands for, its values, the fact that they are committed to putting forth the resources necessary to allow Pepperdine to get back to the highest level where they once were, all this is very exciting to me.”
Romar spent three seasons at Pepperdine, from 1996 to 1999, when he led the Waves to a 42-44 overall record. He increased Pepperdine’s win total each year he was there, going from six to 17 to 19 and a trip to the 1999 NIT.
“Lorenzo Romar is one of the finest men that I know,” Potts said. “I am extremely pleased and excited that he has agreed to rejoin our program as our men’s basketball head coach. His commitment to our Christian mission, to the academic well-being of our student-athletes and to building a men’s basketball program that will compete for West Coast Conference championships make him a perfect fit for Pepperdine.”
After leaving Pepperdine, Romar went to Saint Louis, where he coached for three seasons before heading to Washington, where he led the Huskies for 15 years.
Romar brought the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament six times and earned a 1 seed in 2005. Washington, however, could not escape mediocrity after the 2012 season. In his final five years in Seattle, Romar reached the postseason just twice — both NIT appearances — and went 9-22 in his last year.
Arizona hired Romar as an assistant prior to this season.
Romar is known as a strong recruiter, but also became entangled in the ongoing FBI investigation into college basketball when Markelle Fultz was named in the famous Yahoo! Sports report as someone who reportedly accepted $10,000 from an agent before arriving at Washington. Assuming Romar is not directly implicated, Pepperdine may have made the perfect big-name, familiar hire.