Bazin Looks Forward to Challenge
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
Norm Bazin has been successful everywhere he's gone. Now, he's coming back to the place where he made his biggest mark a player to try to bring Massachusetts-Lowell to places it hasn't been since — namely, the NCAA Tournament.
To do so, Bazin, who was named the new coach Thursday, knows he will have to work harder than he ever has before, and find assistant coaches willing to do the same thing.
"We have to outwork everyone. We need to find the right person who can uncover hidden gems. I'm confident in assembling a staff that we can do that," Bazin said. "Those are the things I will explore with the staff (finding new recruiting territories). We have to be willing to think outside the box."
Bazin figures he'll assess what to do with his staff during the upcoming coaches convention in Naples.
"It's a great opportunity to both interview and see a lot of people," Bazin said. "I have people in mind, people I've gotten to know well in the past. But at the same time, I want to see if there's someone out there really hungry for this opportunity."
One person that isn't coaching now, but could some day down the road, is former Lowell teammate Dwayne Roloson, currently still a goaltender in the National Hockey League. Roloson made it clear, during a congratulatory video recorded message played during Bazin's introductory press conference, that he'd like to coach some day.
"He does, and I'd love for it to be with us. When he's done playing, I'd love for him to be a part of our program," Bazin said. "It speaks volumes of his character and passion for the program, to take time away from a playoff series to (record that message)."
Bazin said he enjoyed his three years at Hamilton, a tiny college in Central New York. He helped ressurect that program into one that won its conference.
"Hamilton is a special little school. It's in a conference among the big boys like Middlebury, Bowdoin, Williams," Bazin said. "It has a challenge because academically it is so selective.
"It's similar in Hockey East, because we're going up against a lot of big-time schools."
Bazin said he wasn't actively looking for a head coaching job, but felt he was ready, and if the right opening came around, he'd go for it. Clearly, there was no job more "right" for him than Lowell's.
"There's so few vacancies. This year was unusual because there was several," Bazin said. "I've been pretty comfortable where I've been. But this particular situation was of course something I had great interest in because it's my alma mater. ... I thought I was ready to be a head coach, and was fortunate this opportunity came along. I just had to convince the administration of that. I've had a lot of different experiences that have gotten me ready."
Expect Bazin to take on the challenges with a smile. He says he "never has a bad day" because of the way he looks at life. That includes getting through a nasty auto accident eight years ago. He was on a recruiting trip when he was hit head on by another driver.
"Life is about timing, good and bad," Bazin said. "It could've happened two miles from my house. It just so happened while I was on a recruiting trip. Maybe there was more probability of it happening because of all the traveling we do."
For better or worse, recruiting is more pressure-packed than ever, with more traveling than ever.
"It's hockey and it's how it's evolved," Bazin said. "We have to change with it. Hockey's a fast game and changes happen that way too. College sports has changed all around in its recruiting, and the pressure to win."