Sportsball: The Fall of the Romar Empire

For something that wasn’t planned, it sure made sense. University of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar and top deputies Cameron Dollar and Ken Bone commanded the rise of Husky hoops. So put Dollar and Bone each in charge of a lesser school in the same state, and watch Washington conquer the world of college basketball!

It’s a good thing no one planned it, because that person would deserve to be thrown to the lions. You’ll have noticed when filling out your NCAA tournament bracket that while smaller states like Utah, Iowa, and Oklahoma had multiple entrants in the 68-team field, Washington had just one.

While Gonzaga carried our state’s standard—not very far, losing in the second round—Romar’s University of Washington Huskies, Dollar’s Seattle U Redhawks, and Bone’s Washington State Cougars are all watching postseason basketball from home. None received an invitation.

Now the fall of the Romar Empire has begun. Bone, who’d reached the tourney twice when he was head coach at Portland State, didn’t do it once in five years at Wazzu. The school fired him March 18.

Meanwhile, Dollar’s Redhawks finished at the bottom of their league, despite competing against the likes of Chicago State, Texas Pan-American, and for-profit Grand Canyon. Dollar’s teams not only don’t win, they are practically unwatchable. His high-turnover, low-shooting-percentage style is a pale imitation of that run by the successful Huskies teams he reigned over with Romar in the 2000s. To be fair, Dollar has been negotiating a transition to Division I play, but this was a school with pretensions of being another Gonzaga. Last place in one of the nation’s worst conferences is hardly what Dollar’s bosses had in mind for year five of his tenure.

Romar’s Huskies are out of the tourney for the third straight year, the longest drought in his 12 mostly successful years at UW. Since Dollar left, Romar has had six assistant coaches, none of who seem to fit the role of motivator/enforcer the way Dollar did.

I think the best thing to do is to shrink the Romar Empire and reunite the Romar/Bone/Dollar triumvirate at UW. Leave colonial outposts like Pullman and First Hill to mercenaries from other states, and centralize around Montlake. Wouldn’t you rather have one good basketball program than three mediocre ones? That’s my plan, anyway. I hope I don’t end up a lion’s dinner.

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