Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said Monday that UCLA has not contacted him about its head coaching vacancy and that he has not reached out to them.
Asked if UCLA did contact him if he would hang up or talk to them, Romar said, “I’ve had many of these conversations with teams in the past and schools that talked, and I just didn’t hang the phone up on them. We talked. I’ve never had a situation where, you know what, we need to sit down and talk and meet on this and talk further. That’s not something I’m looking … It’s USC and UCLA, they’re both open. I haven’t asked one person to call on my behalf and all of that, so, I don’t know what else to tell you.”
Romar was an assistant at UCLA from 1992-96, then left to be head coach at Pepperdine. In 1996, UCLA fired Jim Harrick and the Bruins’ job came open. The UCLA administration reached out to Romar, but he chose to not move on in the interview process and instead stay at Pepperdine.
When the job came open again in 2003, when the Bruins hired recently fired Ben Howland, Romar was not contacted by the school about the opening.
Considering his strong ties to the Los Angeles area, the stage of his coaching career — he will probably coach about 10 more years — and the fact his three daughters are grown and out of college, this appears the last window for Romar to possibly go to UCLA, if it were interested.
At this point, they haven’t talked, according to Romar. He also reiterated as long as Washington wants him he will be here.
Still, he has to answer questions whenever he’s linked to a job like this.
Romar said recruits ask him, but that he hasn’t spoken to the current roster about it.
“I think people know me, we’ve been through this before, ‘No, no, no, I know you’re going to take Timberwolves, it’s the NBA, c’mon,’ ” Romar said. “No, I’m not going to. I think people kind of believe that when you say it. Our players, they don’t even ask me about it to tell you the truth. Recruits, they always ask, if I sat here and told you the number of .. I’m not boasting at all … I’m just telling you the situations that have come up that I didn’t entertain, even if I’ve had conversations with them, it didn’t materialize into anything, it’s been a lot and it hasn’t happened.
“When the UCLA situation comes up, the fact that I worked there and am from there, I think it’s a natural (thing) for it to come up. Anyone who’s worked for them, I think it comes up. In years past, I’ve just been truthful.
“I’ve said, I don’t know how many times, if Washington wants me, I’m here at Washington. I’ve said that a bunch of times, but I’ll say it again.”
Romar was asked if he was surprised that Howland was fired.
“I would say I’m not surprised, based on … you didn’t ask me if it’s right … I’m not surprised on the things that have happened,” Romar said. “I’m not so sure … they had some negative press that had nothing to do with wins and losses. Just don’t know if that came into play. I don’t know.
“I know the expectations are there. High expectations. But still, I just wonder, if the other peripheral things did some damage in that situation. One of the things about UCLA, about the unrealistic expectations. I’ve talked to people about, ‘They went to three Final Fours.’ ‘Well, they didn’t win it.’ Wow. Those are serious expectations. I think today, in today’s climate, I think people will say all that. The thing about UCLA and coach Howland is, there are some places and programs that there are high expectations, but the people don’t understand that those expectations are hard to be met. They forget how difficult it is. It’s difficult to get to the Final Four, period. I don’t care who you are. It’s even more difficult to win a national championship.
“Fran Dunphy at Temple, if there was some type of way to measure, some formula, of who really are the best coaches, regardless of what they’ve won, Fran Dunphy would be in there, top 10. How many championships did Pete Carril win? People will tell you he’s one of the greatest coaches to coach in college. But, he wasn’t in a situation at Princeton where they were going to win national championships.
“At UCLA, there is the ability to get all that done. You can get that stuff done over there. You can’t do what Wooden did. That’s not going to happen. I don’t know some people think, maybe it will happen, maybe this will be the coach … It’s not happening. It’s not going to happen. One and done, the way it is with parody nowadays. It’s not going to happen.
“But, if you talk about expectations across the board, where at least, at UCLA, you have a chance to meet some of those expectations. At some other places, those expectations might be there but it’s just to hard to get to them.”