CHN Staff Report
PHILADELPHIA Dave Baseggio was a standout defenseman for Yale in the late '80s. After a lengthy career in the minors, he became an assistant coach with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders. When head coach Greg Cronin left to take the job at Northeastern, Baseggio was promoted to the top spot.
After last week's surprise firing of 28-year Yale head coach Tim Taylor, speculation began about his successor. Baseggio would be a prime candidate if he wanted the job.
CHN: Well, you're the man to talk to right because of the news on your old coach Tim Taylor.
Baseggio: I was actually very, very surprised and disappointed. Coach Taylor is not only my coach and one of my mentors, but he's also a friend of mine. We've been in touch over the last bunch of years, had a lot of nice talks, breakfasts, lunches, and he's been a tremendous resource for me. I feel real bad for him because obviously it's not what he planned out, not what he wanted, and I'm disappointed, saddened, shocked ... a lot of those emotions.
CHN: What was he like to play for? Everyone knows him as this soft-spoken gentlemanly figure, but deep beneath, he seemed to have a clear burning desire to win.
Baseggio: I don't remember too much in detail, but I do remember his passion for the game and how he tried to relay that to the players. I do remember great practices with Timmy — his attention to detail was phenomenal, and he cared about each and every one of his players. Not just in hockey circles but in the circles of life. That's what made him a great man and great coach, and you wanted to play for him. That's one of the reasons I went to Yale, to play for Tim Taylor. His hockey achievements go without saying — Olympic coach, USA Hockey, college coach of the year. The Xs and Os are always there, but it's the way he carries himself, the class, the dignity, the passion for the game, which really attracts people to him.
CHN: Wins and losses, I'm sure the athletic department looks at. Do they have any argument to say, this was the time?
Baseggio: I don't know the entire story, I'm speaking from the outside looking in. So that's between the athletic department and Timmy. Obviously it wasn't a clean break by any means, so that's disappointing to me that there couldn't have been something better as far as, Timmy's been there for 28 years and if they're not happy with things lately, I would think there would've been a better way to go about this than what I'm hearing. But that's between Timmy and the athletic department. My thoughts are with Tim and his family, and that's where it lays.
CHN: You haven't talked to him since?
Baseggio: I called him when I found out. He returned my call when I was out of (cell) zone yesterday. So we haven't spoken, but we had a couple of long voice mails that we both sent.
CHN: You wonder how these things come about. Sometimes it's alumni putting pressure on the administration. But this wasn't the case here?
Baseggio: I don't know the entire story of what went down yet, so I don't want to comment until I do. But obviously it wasn't a clean break. He was there 28 years and he put Yale hockey on the map. It's difficult to see this.
CHN: Obviously, as an alum, your name is being thrown around.
Baseggio: I don't even want to look anywhere else (right now). I'm focused on getting this team ready for the playoffs. In all honesty, that's all I'm thinking about. I don't want to think about going coaching anywhere else, I don't want to think about anything like that. I'm under contract with the Islanders to coach Bridgeport and that's my No. 1 priority and will remain my No. 1 priority. I don't even want to go that avenue right now.
CHN: In terms of your career, have you had long-term goals?
Baseggio: Obviously, I want to coach at the highest level. That's what I'm striving for. This is my first year as a head coach, and this has been one of the most rewarding years personally for me in terms of what I've learned, not only in the business but about myself. I'm extremely happy about the people I work with here, and people I work for, and the players. I'm thrilled of the year we're having, and I'm proud of the year we've had and I'm very happy here.
CHN: Greg Cronin did it. Ted Donato. And that's why people are going to look at you.
Baseggio: Well, yeah, I'm an alum and I'm coaching, so, right there it puts a target on me. But nothing's come about on my end, and quite honestly I'm happy about that.
CHN: You played a lot of good years in the AHL and IHL and never played an NHL game. Do you ever dwell on that?
Baseggio: I don't regret it. I look back and I wasn't good enough to play. I can live with that. I was a pretty good player, I had some good times, met some great people, and got to play hockey for a living. It's the best job, and I think coaching is the second-best job and so I don't have any regrets. I actually feel fortunate that I've been able to play a kid's game and get paid for it, and now coach a kid's game and get paid for it. Obviously some times it's a business and it can get tougher, as in Timmy's case, but I feel privileged to be in pro hockey this long.