Lorenzo Romar returns as head coach of Pepperdine

Lorenzo Romar is returning to Pepperdine as its men's basketball coach, the school announced Monday.

Romar, who currently serves as the associate head coach at Arizona, was the Waves' coach from 1996-97 to 1998-99 before leaving for Saint Louis and eventually Washington, where he spent 15 seasons leading the Huskies.

"My comfort level with [athletics director] Steve Potts and President [Andrew] Benton played a huge role in my decision to return to Pepperdine," Romar said in a statement. "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."

With four games left in the regular season, Pepperdine announced coach Marty Wilson would not return for his eighth year as the head coach. Wilson compiled an 88-129 record since taking over at his alma mater in 2011; after going 18-14 in back-to-back seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), the program was just 9-22 and 6-26 in its last two.

This will be the second time Romar will replace Wilson in Malibu. Wilson served as the interim head coach for the final 13 games of the 1995-96 season before Romar arrived for his first stint.

"Pepperdine was my first head coaching job, and I remember us not doing well our first year," Romar said. "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."

Romar was 42-44 in that three-year stint at Pepperdine and is more known for his time at Washington, where the Huskies went 298-196 during his tenure with six appearances in the NCAA tournament. While in Seattle, he was named the conference's coach of the year three times and coached 10 players who would become first-round NBA draft picks.