Longtime University of Washington head basketball coach Lorenzo Romar was born November 13, 1958, and grew up in Compton, California, where he went on to play at Cerritos Community College after high school. After playing two years for Cerritos, he transferred and played for the University of Washington from 1978 to 1980, where he averaged 7.7 points and 1.9 rebounds a game. After his collegiate career, he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors and then later played for the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Bucks and Detroit (Michigan) Pistons where over five years he averaged 5.9 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
After his brief five year playing career ended, he started coaching for Athletes in Action, a sports ministry for college athletes based in Xenia, Ohio. After coaching there, he was hired as an assistant coach for UCLA under head coach Jim Harrick from 1992 to 1996. While at that institution, he recruited many of the players on the 1995 UCLA team that won the national championship.
Romar received his first head coach position at Pepperdine University, working there for three years (1997–2000) and then at Saint Louis University from 2000 to 2002. In 2002 Romar was hired as the head coach of the University of Washington Huskies. He was the first African American head coach of any sport at the University of Washington.
Romar rejuvenated and brought new energy the Huskies basketball program which had become mediocre in recent years in the Pac 10 Conference. In 2004 the University of Washington basketball team played in the NCAA national tournament for the first time in five years under Romar’s leadership. The very next year, Washington won the then Pac-10 tournament (it is now the Pac-12). That year, they also made to the “Sweet Sixteen” in NCAA national competition for the first time since 1998. They were defeated by the University of Louisville (Kentucky).
In 2006 the University of Washington made a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and again reached the Sweet Sixteen level. Romar was named