GLENDALE – As expectced, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, who has posted 156 victories in four seasons with Phoenix, has agreed to a long-term contract extension.
Tippett will formally address the media about his new contract next week, but on Friday I spoke with him over the phone for a few moments to get his reaction.
“I just feel like there’s a huge upside,” Tippett said, after I asked him why he decided to return to the team. “When I looked at it, I just felt that I’m fortunate to work with the people that I do and I just feel like there’s another level to take this organization, and I’m excited to stay and try to help out.”
Tippett said getting to work with General Manager Don Maloney, Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving and the coaching staff is a major reason why he decided to come back.
“It’s a very good group,” Tippett told me. “We look forward to the challenge and obviously the challenge right ahead of us is we have to get ourselves back to the playoffs, and we want to continue to build this team to be a championship caliber team.”
Like Coyotes fans, Tippett continues to monitor the ongoing ownership situation and is hopeful the team will remain in Arizona long-term.
“There’s certainly a lot of challenges ahead,” Tippett said. “Everybody is hopeful and in anticipation of an ownership situation. Don and I have talked a lot about players, and not just players that we have and getting them re-signed, but players that maybe may help our group down the line. Those conversations have already started.”
He added: “The big thing right now, and Don and I have talked about it, is trying to secure our own free agents,” Tippett said. “Our goaltending situation, Mike Smith especially, is something that has to be addressed, and we hope to get ‘Smitty’ signed before free agency (starts).”
With 156 wins, Tippett trails only Bob Francis on the franchise's all-time victories list for head coaches. Francis has 165.