Lorenzo Romar is returning to Pepperdine.
Nearly 20 years after his first stint as the Waves’ men’s basketball coach ended, Romar will be taking the reins at Pepperdine again, athletic director Steve Potts announced Monday.
Romar currently serves as associate head coach at Arizona and will report to Pepperdine full time as soon as the Wildcats’ run in the NCAA tournament is over.
“I grew up in Southern California, and at this point in my career it was my preference to stay on the West Coast,” Romar, a Compton native, said in a press release from the university. “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, 59, won a national title as an assistant coach at UCLA in 1995. He received his first head coaching gig from Pepperdine before the 1996-97 season and remained with the Waves for three seasons, coaching them to a 42-44 record over that period.
“Pepperdine was my first head coaching job, and I remember us not doing well our first year,” Romar said in the statement. “When we took over there had been a couple of losing seasons before that, and in our first year we also had a losing season. Then in our second year, I think we were the second-most improved team in the country. To see the kids on that team experience a little more success was something that was really exciting.”
He went on to coach at Saint Louis from 1999-2002 and then his alma mater Washington from 2002-17. With the Huskies, he was the Pac-12 coach of the year three times and led the team to two regular-season conference titles and three conference tournament championships.
His overall head coaching record is 391-284. He replaces former Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson, whose contract was not renewed after a 6-26 campaign this season.
“Lorenzo Romar is one of the finest men that I know,” Potts said in Pepperdine’s press release. “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.”