The UW won't say much about the coach's future as his beleaguered 9-21 team heads to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament.
Lorenzo Romar’s fate — a hot topic of debate this season — is once again in the news as a report claims he’ll return next season at Washington while the Huskies say they’re still evaluating their longtime coach.
Citing unnamed sources, Yahoo!’s Pat Forde reports Romar will return in 2017-18 for his 16th season at UW after a year in which the Huskies are 9-21 and finished 11th in the Pac-12 at 2-16. It’s Washington’s worst conference record since the league began playing 18 games in 1978-79.
According to Forde: “Romar has signed the No. 1 player in the class of 2017, Michael Porter Jr., and although past recruiting coups have not resulted in great on-court success, the school is unwilling to pay his $3.5 million buyout. Romar is well-liked at Washington, which also has helped his cause.”
When asked Tuesday night about Forde’s report, a UW spokesperson said: “There’s no confirmation on any of that. We’re evaluating the program as the season goes along, which is what we’ve said from the start.”
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Earlier in the day, Romar met with local media before the team departs Tuesday for the Pac-12 Tournament. No. 11 seed Washington plays No. 6 USC at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first round at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Huskies have lost twice this year to the Trojans, including a 74-58 defeat in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Sources close to Romar said he has not spoken to school officials about his job status and expects to meet with athletic director Jen Cohen shortly after the season, which happens every year.
After this season, Romar has three years remaining on a 10-year contract extension that expires in 2020. He’s paid $1.7 million annually and if terminated before the 2017-18 season, UW would have to pay him a $3.2 million buyout.
A loss this week ends the worst season at Washington since the Huskies went 5-22 in 1993-94. Anything short of a miraculous four-wins-in-four-days run and a Pac-12 Tournament championship would stretch UW’s NCAA tournament drought to six years.
When asked to evaluate the season, Romar said: “It’s been frustrating. Obviously, we haven’t had as much success as we’d like. I can say, I didn’t see any of this coming.”