New head coach Lorenzo Romar brought in an impressive group after one month on the job.
Lorenzo Romar -- who has been a successful head coach for more than two decades and is known as one of the nation's top recruiters -- has returned to Pepperdine and is beginning his second stint in charge of the men's basketball program in 2018-19.
In 21 seasons as a head coach at Pepperdine, Saint Louis and Washington, Romar's career record is 391-284 (42-44 in his three seasons with the Waves). He won a national championship as an assistant coach at UCLA in 1995.
Romar previously coached the Waves between 1996-97 and 1998-99. After an initial rebuilding season, he led Pepperdine to 17 and 19 wins over his next two seasons, including a spot in the NIT in 1999. An 11-win improvement from season one to two ranked as one of the nation's top improvements.
He left after that year to become the head coach at Saint Louis University, but players that he recruited to Pepperdine would go on to make the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and 2002.
One of the players he recruited to Pepperdine was Brandon Armstrong, a 2001 NBA Draft first-round selection. He had five All-WCC first team selections in his three years, including Jelani Gardner (who received the honor twice) and Gerald Brown (who currently serves as the Waves' assistant director of operations).
"My comfort level with Steve Potts and President (Andrew) Benton played a huge role in my decision to return to Pepperdine," said Romar in March 2018 at the time of his hiring. "I grew up in Southern California, and at this point in my career it was my preference to stay on the West Coast. 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.
"Pepperdine was my first head coaching job, and I remember us not doing well our first year. 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."
Pepperdine Director of Athletics Dr. Steve Potts said: "Lorenzo Romar is one of the finest men that I know. 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."
Pepperdine University President Andrew K. Benton said: "I am delighted that Coach Romar is coming `home' to Pepperdine. I admire his approach to the game of basketball and the way in which he leads his teams in preparation for the game of life. We open this new chapter with confidence, and, of course, with waves of enthusiasm."
Romar helped rebuild Washington into a perennial Pac-12 contender during his 15 seasons as head coach there (2002-03 through 2016-17). Thirteen of his Huskies were selected in the NBA Draft, including 10 first-round picks, such as Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Spencer Hawes, Terrence Ross, Marquese Chriss, Dejounte Murray and 2017 top overall pick Markelle Fultz. Future NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas also played for Romar at Washington, one of 16 Huskies that went on to play in the NBA during his tenure.
Romar left his alma mater with the second-most wins in program history with 298, averaging nearly 20 victories a season. He amassed four of the seven largest single-season win totals in Washington history, including 29 in 2004-05, tying the school record. The Huskies received their first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament that year.
He led UW to a pair of conference regular-season (2009 and 2012) and three tournament championships (2005, 2010, 2011). The Huskies played in six NCAA Tournaments, three NITs and one CBI.
At Washington, he earned three Pac-10 or Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors (2005, 2009, 2012). The Black Coaches Association named him its National Coach of the Year in 2005. In 2006, he was honored with the John Wooden "Keys to Life" Award. Pac-10 players once voted him as the opposing coach that they would most like to play for.
Prior to Washington, Romar spent three years at Saint Louis (1999-00 through 2001-02). He won 51 games, which included the 2000 Conference USA Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
After Washington and before returning to Pepperdine, Romar served as the associate head coach for one season (2017-18) at Arizona. He helped the Wildcats a 27-8 record, Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
A native of Compton, California, Romar graduated from Pius X High School and earned an associate's degree from Cerritos (Calif.) Community College in 1980. During his sophomore year, he set a school record for single-season assists and earned all-league first team honors.
He went on to Washington, where he would be a two-year starter at point guard and was the team captain as a senior in 1979-80. He led the Huskies in assists both seasons, and averaged 9.3 points as a senior as UW made the NIT. He was the recipient of the team's Most Inspirational Award both years.
He was selected in the seventh round of the 1980 NBA Draft (141st overall) by the Golden State Warriors. He would go on to play five seasons in the NBA with Golden State, Milwaukee and Detroit. He had totals of 1,731 points (5.9 average) and 1,022 assists (3.5 average) during 291 career regular-season games.
After the 1984-85 season, Romar joined Athletes in Action and played with the organization for seven seasons. He started 224 of 233 games during this time, and set AIA single-game records for points (54) and assists (21) and the career record for assists (1,689). He eventually became a player-coach with the organization.
That eventually led him to becoming an assistant coach at UCLA under former Pepperdine head coach Jim Harrick. During his four seasons (1992-93 through 1995-96), in which he was the top assistant and lead recruiter, the Bruins won the 1995 NCAA title and had a 98-27 record. He went from UCLA to becoming Pepperdine's head coach.
Romar has also long been involved with USA Basketball. He served as an assistant coach for both the U-22 team that competed at the 1997 World Championships, and for the Pan American Games team in 2003. He was the head coach of the U.S. U-18 National Team, which won a gold medal at the 2006 FIBA Americas. USA Basketball named him to its competition committee in February 2013 for a four-year term.
Romar earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from University of Cincinnati in 1992. He and his wife Leona have three daughters -- Terra, Tavia and Taylor -- and they also have three grandchildren.