Sound Tigers name Baseggio coach

David Baseggio has been named the third head coach in Bridgeport Sound Tigers history. The announcement was made at a press conference today at the SportsCenter of Connecticut by Mike Milbury, general manager of the Sound Tigers’ NHL parent franchise, the New York Islanders.

“Dave earned this opportunity with his hard work, dedication and ability to teach,” said Milbury. “We are an organization that believes in developing people and promoting from within when appropriate, and Dave has impressed everyone the last four years by getting the most out of our young players. With Dave, we know the Sound Tigers will be prepared to play every night.”

“This is the biggest day of my career, the culmination of 15 years in the pros as a player and coach,” said Baseggio. “I want to thank Mike and (Islanders co-owner) Charles Wang for this opportunity, and I want everyone in the Islanders and Sound Tigers family — especially the fans — to know that I’m going to make the most of it.”

The 37-year-old Baseggio spent the last four years as an assistant coach in Bridgeport, beginning with the inaugural Sound Tigers team in 2001. He spent the first two years as an assistant to Steve Stirling, the last two with Greg Cronin. The Niagara Falls, Ont., native joined the Sound Tigers after working as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers in 2000-01.

Baseggio’s ties to the state of Connecticut reach back to his collegiate playing career. He captained the hockey team at Yale University while earning a degree in economics. Baseggio graduated in 1989 holding the Bulldogs’ all-time scoring records for a defenseman with 29 goals, 79 assists and 108 points in 111 games. He was also named to the All-ECAC team in 1987, 1988 and 1989.

He was the fourth pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the 1986 NHL draft. A two-time all-star, his professional playing career spanned 11 years in the American and International Hockey Leagues where he was a two-time All-Star. He won the IHL’s Turner Cup Championship as a rookie with the Indianapolis Ice in 1990, made a trip to the AHL’s Calder Cup Final with the Rochester Americans a year later, won another championship in Italy with Bolzano in 1994 and returned to the IHL Final with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2000.

Baseggio was instrumental in the Sound Tigers’ rise to the Calder Cup Final in 2002 and record-setting 2003-04 season. That year Bridgeport set many AHL records on defense, including lowest team goals against average (1.75), fewest goals against (140) highest penalty killing percentage (90.66%); and most shutouts at home (12).

David lives in Branford with his wife Sondra, son Michael and daughter Katherine.