Lorenzo Romar was officially announced as the new head coach of the Pepperdine Waves on Monday, and Sean Miller is “elated” for his first-year assistant coach.
“We didn’t know how long he would be here for,” Miller said Monday at his weekly presser. “Clearly if he had an opportunity as good as Pepperdine, it’s something that he has to take. We’re excited for him. He’s done an excellent job in the year that he’s been with us. And he’s really helped guide the ship.”
While Romar’s departure is official, he will remain with the Arizona Wildcats through the rest of the season.
This will be Romar’s second stint at Pepperdine. The 59-year-old was the head coach there for three seasons back in the late 1990s (1996-99), and he said his comfort level with Pepperdine’s administration was a major factor in his decision to return to Malibu.
So was the location.
“I grew up in Southern California, and at this point in my career it was my preference to stay on the West Coast,” Romar said in a statement. “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.”
While Romar’s stay in Tucson has been brief, his most notable moment was when he led Arizona in the Oregon game and a few days in practice, after Miller stepped away from the team following the release of ESPN’s wiretap report.
It was unclear if Miller was going to return and Romar, a longtime head coach, handled that unstable situation as well as one could have, several Arizona players have said.
“He’s been through a lot, obviously, he coached a lot of pros, and that’s where I want to get to one day,” said UA guard Rawle Alkins. “I’m just happy for him. I’m happy that he got the job.”
Miller said he admires Romar’s poise.
“He doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low,” Miller explained. “What you see is what you get. He’s very honest. I think whoever you are, whether your a fan or one of our players, you really learn to love him because he’s very genuine in all that he does.”
Miller added: “And we’re going to miss him, but our season’s not over yet and I think he knows that as well so we’re looking forward to the NCAA Tournament.”
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire