Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Coaching Carousel Update and Firings from early March

Jan 18, 2024; Malibu, California, USA; Pepperdine Waves head coach Lorenzo Romar looks on in the
Jan 18, 2024; Malibu, California, USA; Pepperdine Waves head coach Lorenzo Romar looks on in the / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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The Waves decided to make a change, parting ways with Lorenzo Romar six years into his second stint of duty as Pepperdine’s head coach. Romar originally began his head coaching career with the Waves in the late 90’s but had seen less success since returning to Malibu in 2018. The Waves won 16 games in each of his first two seasons but failed to make headway in the WCC in recent years, finishing just eighth in the league with a 12-19 record this year.

After starring at Washington and playing a few seasons in the NBA, Romar began his coaching career on staff at UCLA, winning a national championship as an assistant in 1995. His head coaching career spanned nearly three decades, beginning with three-year stints at Pepperdine and Saint Louis. There was plenty of success across 15 years at Washington with three Sweet Sixteen’s before he was fired in 2017. Pepperdine brought him back the following season and are now in another coaching search.

In its current state, the WCC belongs to Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. Pepperdine hasn’t done much to challenge either of those teams in recent memory, having not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2002. Romar had some talented pieces in Malibu, but this program really struggled the last three years and will be hoping that new blood can recharge their trajectory.

Overnight success will not come at Pepperdine regardless of the coach. The Waves brought in a successful Pac-12 head coach and he couldn’t compete with Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. The last couple of coaches hired by the Waves were former assistants or head coaches with the program, so it’ll be interesting to see the kinds of outsiders they’re interested in hiring. Pepperdine is a beautiful school in a tough conference; they’ll be able to attract some decent names, perhaps grabbing an assistant coach from the Pac-12 or Mountain West.

5 biggest matchups to watch this weekend. dark. Next. 5 biggest matchups to watch this weekend

These are the first seven; there will likely be more openings in the coming weeks as the coaching carousel continues to spin. Who do you think these schools should hire to lead their programs? Which other schools will soon have openings?