Washington has fired head coach Lorenzo Romar after 15 seasons, the university announced.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman first reported the decision.
Romar, 58, has coached the Huskies since 2002. They went just 9–22 this season, with presumptive No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz on the roster. Washington has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2011.
Romar went 298–195 at Washington with two trips to the Sweet 16. The Huskies had especially struggled in recent years, despite producing multiple NBA first-round picks including Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray last season and players including Isaiah Thomas and Terrence Ross.
"As a former student-athlete, and an alum of the University of Washington, this is definitely not an easy day for me. I was really looking forward to coaching our team next year and beyond. However, God had a different plan," Romar said in a statement. "I am proud of a lot of things we were able to accomplish in the 15 years that we were here. I want to thank all of the coaches, players and staff who have played a part in that success. I will always support the University of Washington, and pull for the Huskies."
The subtext to Romar’s firing is the future of Michael Porter Jr., considered a potential No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft. Porter’s father was an assistant under Romar, who is Porter Jr.’s godfather. Porter Jr. and younger brother Jontay are both committed to the Huskies, the former for next season and the latter for 2018. Both Porter brothers could conceivably play college basketball elsewhere, in addition to other highly-rated recruits committed to Washington next season. Jontay Porter has considered reclassifying to play next season.
Romar had previously been linked via reports to the Missouri job, which will reportedly be filled by Cuonzo Martin, who resigned at Cal on Wednesday.
ESPN’s Paul Biancardi reported that Michael Porter Sr., a former assistant on the women’s team at Missouri, will join Martin there as an assistant coach next season. Biancardi also reports that Porter Jr. never signed a letter of intent, although Washington officially announced that he had.
Porter Jr. played his first three years of high school basketball in Missouri while his father coached there.
- Jeremy Woo