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April 20, 2010 at 6:50 AM

Woodward Takes Us Behind Lorenzo Romar’s New Deal

Coach Lorenzo Romar is out of town on the recruiting trail, but I had a chance to talk to Washington athletic director Scott Woodward (left) last night about Romar’s new 10-year, $1.7 million per season extension.
The new deal will make Romar the third highest paid coach in the Pac-10 behind Arizona’s Sean Miller and UCLA’s Ben Howland who reportedly earn $2 million per year. Romar checks in ahead of California’s Mike Montgomery who is at $1.6M a year and there’s no telling how much Oregon will pay its new coach.
Woodward said the school wants to keep Romar among the top four in the conference.
(How did this happen?) “Lorenzo and I have common and frank conversations and (I) said hey let’s talk about re-doing your deal because it’s in his contract that we review it on even number years, in Year 2, 4, 6 and 8. We’re in that cycle right now of year four of his new deal. He said I want to be here and I want to end my career here. He said I don’t want to be coaching when I’m well into my 60s and this might be my final contract and I said let’s get it done. So we decided to get a deal done.”
(If this is the last contract, seems like there’s some pressure to get it right.) “Like always, when you say it’s your last contract, it’s never really your last contract. It’s your last contract as far as length goes because we’re going to reward and pay Lorenzo in this new contract. We’re going to review it every two years to make sure we’re paying market and he’s doing what he’s set out to do and we’re compensating him according to his accomplishments.”
(Can you talk about him as a coach?) “He is everything you want in a coach. He’s a good teacher. He cares about the right things for his student-athletes that they get their education. He is a competitor. And he’s just an honorable person.
“I tell recruits and their parents all the time that I would let Lorenzo Romar raise my kids. That’s how much I trust him and I think that’s an important step that you ought to take in entrusting us with your kid. Does he pass that test? Is this the man that you want around your kids? From someone who knows him as well and as intimately as I do, there’s no doubt in my mind that I feel that way.”
(How long did the contract talks take?) “Minutes. Lorenzo is very easy to deal with and I’m a pretty straight-forward kind of guy. We just had to get some concepts and some things set because even though it’s straight forward pretty much, you want to make sure you get all of your i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”
(Why 10 years?)

“He liked it because that would take him into his early or right when he turns 60. He said to me that he doesn’t want to be coaching much long past that if that long. So that was kind of us looking at it as hey, this might be it length wise for his whole coaching career.”
(How much can you talk about the financial numbers.) “It’s in the neighborhood of $1.7 million per year. We’re not all the way there yet. We just have some details to get through and I don’t want to say something that’s not right or erroneous.”
(Any of this a surprise to you?) “It’s one of these things that progressed. I told Lorenzo I wanted to do something for him last year for winning the Pac-10, which is a huge accomplishment. But given this economy, right now let’s wait until it says in your contract that we talk about it. We had been talking about rewarding him and doing what we thought was the right thing to do in this market and in this climate and this was kind of a culmination of his past two year’s worth of work, which is what we were reviewing. I think he gets an A-plus. Winning the Pac-10 championship, winning the Pac-10 Tournament and going to the Sweet 16.”
(How would you sum up Romar’s status not just at Washington or in Seattle, but in the Northwest and in the Pac-10?) “We’re hoping he’s more success than he is right now. We have high expectation for him. I know he wants to push through competitively that Sweet 16 barrier and I know he wants it badly and I know he’s poised to get there. I feel it. There’s no doubt that he’s going to continue to be successful. I think he’s going to take us to greater heights.”
(Does a contract like this at this time also speak to any recruits who may be deciding on Washington?) “It shows that we’re a solid, well-grounded program. That we have a lot of good things going on besides competitive basketball. We have great graduation rates and just a great atmosphere for a young student-athlete to come and participate in.”
— There’s always been a small cadre of UCLA fans who believed Romar would find his way back to Los Angeles to coach the Bruins. Romar was an assistant under Jim Harrick when UCLA won the 1995 national championship.
The Huskies have returned to work or at least the weight room. The team took some time off after the season, but they’ve started conditioning work this week. Several players have resumed individual workouts on the court as well, but they’re playing at the IMA or in the auxiliary gyms at Hec Ed because the main floor is being refurbished.
— The Oregonian caught up with Oregon State coach Craig Robinson and reviews his new book “A Game of Character.”

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA


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