NCAA Basketball Coach on Accepting the Gift of Salvation
By Tom Buehring
The 700 Club
CBN.com -During the college basketball season, Coach Lorenzo Romar is the Washington Huskies Lead Dog. He’s put the bounce back into a once deflated basketball program, by building a new brand of success.
“Husky Basketball is something that’s relentless, that’s constantly coming at you. We’re trying to initiate Tempo. We’re trying to initiate the action. We’re attacking you, and then when we get the ball, we’re not slowing it down,” says Romar.
They can’t afford to! As one of 351 NCAA Division One teams with a frenzied fan base, there’s no relief from the demand to achieve.
“The more you win, the more people want you to win,” says Romar. “For me, the more I win, the more I want to win. It never stops. You can never be totally satisfied.”
Romar was hired by his alma mater in 2002 to turn around three straight losing seasons, falling attendance and insufficient academic standing. His Seattle arrival immediately raised the program’s expectations and visibility. The former Huskies point guard brought enthusiasm and unprecedented momentum.
:“Being able to do this where I was a student athlete when I attended college makes it extra special,” says Lorenzo.
It took him just two seasons to reach back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, three over six seasons and one as a Top-Seed team. He drove the program forward while raising graduation rates. He begins this season as the reigning PAC-12 Conference Coach of the Year.
“Sustaining a program is tougher than getting it turned around,” says Romar. “Once you’re on a job for awhile in this position there isn’t a lot of mystery left. People know how you conduct things. And if things don’t go well for a day, a month, a year, well, you’ve become stale. So you have to continue to, at times, reinvent yourself.”
The intense pressures on a college basketball coach are constant, where success is measured by both wins and academics, all from the effort of young developing athletes. So how does Coach Lorenzo handle the strain to his job? He remains coachable, willing to learn and accept a much bigger purpose with every assignment.
“If I’m depending on God, and I’m doing everything in my power to be the best, if it doesn’t work out, there’s nothing else I can do about it,” says Romar. “I may not have done a good enough job, okay. But God is still in control of my life. How can I get better. And it didn’t work out here, what else does God have in store, because there is something.”
It was a lesson he learned after college, while playing five seasons in the NBA. As he did with basketball, Lorenzo lived life based on his performance.
“Getting closer to God was like a sporting event,” says Coach Romar. “The one with the most points wins. The more good deeds I could do, the more they could add up and I could score points with God. And that’s just kind of how I saw it. I believed the Bible was the Word of God so I read through it. It was great until I realized that, as I kept reading, points don’t get you to heaven. The points don’t give you a relationship with God, that there weren’t enough points that you could score, as a human down here, because God’s standard was above, it was out of reach.”
Lorenzo the player measured the difference and gave God a shot!
“He made a way for it to work,” says Lorenzo. “He himself came down to this earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He had already scored all the points, basically, for me. I realized something else, this deal didn’t start when I died. It started immediately. If I accepted what Jesus did on the cross, believed He rose from the dead and He was alive today to save me from my sin, asked Him to come in my life, then I would cease to be just a creation of God. But I would then become a child of God.”
Lorenzo was cut by the Detroit Pistons, ending his NBA career. He joined Athletes in Action, first as a player, then as a coach before being named assistant coach of UCLA’s 1995 national championship team.
“God had a plan for me. I learned a lot of ministry, how to deal with athletes. It was as if God trained me to go out and use those same biblical concepts to try and affect people’s lives,” says Lorenzo. “For what appeared to be failure in the NBA was not in God’s eyes, God just used that as a little credibility here to do another job in another place. And with God you’re always going through on the job training.”
Coach Romar is known as a top recruiter and voted as the opposing coach players would most like to play for. Under his leadership and development, Washington has had at least one player selected in seven of the last eight NBA drafts. Six have been first-round picks.
“I think this generation is unique,” says Coach Romar. “I think there are many out there that don’t have mentorship, don’t have that type of father figure that can say, ‘okay, this is how it’s done.’ When you have an opportunity to mentor young people, and to feel like you’re having an effect in a positive way in their lives, is very gratifying, that lasts longer than the statistics.
Lorenzo Romar, college basketball coach and game changer, assisting fast-break transformation while shooting from the heart.
“You get a scholarship, you’re on the team, they’re paying your way to school. But to make an impact, you’re in the weight room, you’re running extra sprints, doing all kinds of stuff to make an impact at that high level,” says Romar. “To become a Christian, it’s been taken care of. You just have to agree to accept a gift. But to be an impact player for God, you got to work.”
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