By Josh Kerns
University of Washington head basketball coach Lorenzo Romar insists he's not going anywhere if he has the say, despite reports he's a leading candidate to take over at UCLA.
Romar's name surfaced soon after UCLA fired men's basketball coach Ben Howland over the weekend.
Howland got the pink slip despite taking the Bruins to three straight Final Fours, seven NCAA tournament berths and a 233-107 record.
But he's been under fire all season, and got the boot after No. 6 seed UCLA lost 83-63 to No. 11 seed Minnesota in the second round on Friday.
Now, there's speculation Romar could be a target for the Bruins job. It wouldn't be the first time. Romar is a disciple of legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, grew up in Southern California, and was an assistant at UCLA when the Bruins won the national championship in 1995.
Romar was offered the UCLA job in 1996, but turned it down to remain in his new head coaching job at Pepperdine. He was also reportedly a top candidate again in 2003 when UCLA ultimately hired Howland.
But at a media briefing Monday to recap the Huskies disappointing 18-16 season that ended with a humiliating 90-79 defeat at BYU last week in the NIT, Romar insisted he wants to stay in Seattle.
"I've said I don't know how many times, Washington wants me and I want to be here."
Romar is under contract through March of 2020, making $1.7 million per year. If he leaves for another Pac-12 job, he would have to pay UW at least $1 million, according to the Seattle Times' Percy Allen.
Romar also told reporters junior guard C.J. Wilcox has submitted paperwork to the NBA draft advisory committee to evaluate his draft prospects if he left early, and added that reserve forward Martin Breunig will transfer from the school.