UPDATE: Sheriff: Bashline murder 'not a random act'

By Steve Smith
Posted 11/9/11

     LONGMONT – Weld County sheriff's deputies don't think the murder of a former Harlem Globetrotters trainer was a random act.

"As it stands right now, …

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UPDATE: Sheriff: Bashline murder 'not a random act'


    LONGMONT – Weld County sheriff's deputies don't think the murder of a former Harlem Globetrotters trainer was a random act.

"As it stands right now, the investigation does not appear that this was random," said Cmdr. Margie Martinez. "That could always change with the investigation as it progresses but not as of right now."

Deputies continue their search for two people they say know something about Bashline's murder. He was found shot to death Nov. 4 in his Frederick home. Martinez wouldn't say how the two are connected to the case. Deputies have not released a suspect description and have not found a weapon.

"The investigators are working with evidence collection and researching what is needed for the case," she said. "There are still two persons of interest. No arrests are imminent although that can change moment by moment."

    Bashline's memorial service is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel, 326 Terry St., Longmont.
    Bashline was the athletic trainer at Brighton High School before joining the Globetrotters in 2010.
    As the shocking news of his death spread, tributes poured in.
    Former Brighton High School athletic director Mike Stoffler said Bashline committed his life to working for the athletes at BHS.
    “He knew the arts and sciences of athletic training, and he took a lot of pride in the current trends,” Stoffler said. “The thing that impressed me was he put the student’s health and welfare first. Some coaches get concerned about the extent to which a kid is hurt. Tom always was extremely cautious.”
    “Not only did Tom touch my life, he touched my older brother’s [Justin Houghton] as well,” said Katelyn Clark-Martin, who graduated from Brighton High in the spring. “I played soccer and cheered in high school at Brighton and always needed to get my right ankle wrapped. Tom would do it every day, with a smile on his face. He would joke around with me, make me stretch that weak ankle and ultimately made be a better athlete.”
    Her brother played football for the Bulldogs.
    “He (Bashline) helped make sure my brother’s bad kidney was padded with the best pads and made sure he was OK while playing football,” Clark-Martin said. “It was tragic to find out that such a great man [Tom] was murdered. My prayers go out to his family. He truly left a legacy.”
    Travis Moore, who graduated from BHS in 2008, called Bashline “an awesome man who would do anything for you.”
    “Not only was I a sports player but I was also one of his students trying to learn about athletic training,” Moore said. “He constantly pushed us all to strive for our goals and would back us 100 percent in whatever way he could. Some awesome times we had were going to Pepsi Center and Coors Field to see how their athletic programs were run and then treated us to lunch.”
    Moore wanted to be a firefighter.
    “When I told him my goal, he was there to always tell me don’t back down and don’t give up,” Moore said. “Today, I wish I would’ve been able to see him before this happened. I am volunteering with Hudson fire department, and I know he would be proud.”
    27J athletic director Rich Affleck began working with Bashline in 1998.
    “Tom was always a great resource and a friendly face in Brighton High School athletics,” Affleck said. “In his time at Brighton High School, Tom built a strong athletic training program for our athletic teams and for students aspiring to be future trainers.  We were very proud of Tom when he began his work with the Harlem Globetrotters, and he will be greatly missed.
    Another BHS alum, Austin Lake, said Bashline’s passion for helping others was obvious.
     “The thing that made Tom special was his genuineness,” said Lake, who graduated in 2008. “Going into high school I was unsure about where I wanted my life to go. Not knowing what I wanted to be, I decided to take an athletic training class. When I first walked into the class I saw Tom, and like they say,  ‘the rest is history.’ Tom inspired me to pursue a career in the sports medicine field. He also helped me throughout high school and into the first couple years of college to reach that goal.”
    “Wow, I had no idea,” BHS football coach Pat Sandoval said. “He started the training program here at BHS. He did a good job, offered classes to students who wanted to try physical training. He worked well with all the athletic programs. Tom did the first aid/CPR training for all the coaches. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
    Bryana Balistreri, who graduated from BHS in the spring, said Bashline made her realize athletic training was her calling “just by spending timeless hours in the training room.”
    “All the stories he told us when he came back from the Globetrotters and all about him being an AT for rodeo,” she said. “Tom impacted my life while I was in high school and that’s why I am trying my best to go to a good school for college and be just like him. He’s the one who helped me get to college, all because he picked great schools for me and wrote a recommendation letter. He took pride in what he did and many people saw that. Not only did he impact my life, he impacted others either if they took the class with him or just spent a lot of hours in the training room.”
    Bobby Zuniga, who graduated from BHS in 2000 and owns Denver Personal Training in Lakewood, was one of Bashline’s assistants for two years.
     “Tom was as good a guy as you could ever meet in a lifetime,” Zuniga said. “No one could ever say anything bad about him. He was giving, loyal, friendly and selfless. Things were not great for me at home. When I wasn’t in the gym or with my best friend, I was in the training room with Tom.”    Former BHS girls basketball coach Ed Basquez nominated Bashline for a Denver Nuggets-sponsored trainers award five years ago. Bashline won.
    “Everyone liked Tom. He was always smiling and happy,” Basquez said.” I remember back in the days the coaching staff and Tom joking around a lot and always making things fun. He always supported me and my girls basketball team and was very passionate about providing the highest level of training for all the programs in Brighton.”
    Basquez’ successor, Traci Mescher, said Bashline was very dedicated to his work.
    “He spent endless hours at the school doing what he loved to do,” Mescher said. “He was always willing to help whenever he could. He will be missed.”
    With the Globetrotters, Bashline took care of the main squad and set up the training room at each of the venues where the Globetrotters performed. He was in charge of the Junior Globetrotters and the ball kids.
When he was at Brighton High School, he took care of 1,000 or so athletes. With the Globetrotters, the numbered dropped to about 40. When he left Brighton to take the job, he readily admitted to being a sports fan.
    “The players on the team love to play basketball,” he told the Blade in 2010. “Their ball-handling skills are astronomical. They are playing with basketballs constantly. They fly more. They are expected to dunk more. They handle the ball with ease.”
    It also helped Bashline to keep on his toes during the course of his job.
    “It’s like working with a bunch of clowns,” he said in 2010. “You never know what they are going to do. A lot of things they do come out of the blue. You never know what they are going to say. You never know when they are going to pull a joke on you (on the court or off). They love to joke around.”
    Bashline was born April 7, 1969, in Panorama City, Calif. He graduated from Broomfield High School in 1988 and from Mesa State College in 1996. In addition to his training service with Platte Valley Medical Center, Bashline had been involved with the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association since 2008. Bashline worked for TB Sports Trainers Medicine in Dacono since 2000.
    “He never had a problem showing up at 5 a.m. for a wrestling tournament or staying until 11:30 p.m. because a football game was delayed by electrical storms,” Stoffler said. “He was always ready. I’m not sure every high school has that willingness to do whatever it took. He was upbeat. He loved being around kids. He enjoyed doing the job he did, and he brought so much to it.”
    “Tom was truly one of most genuine people I’ve known and will be forever missed,” Lake said.
    “He was an amazing mentor who had a lot going for him,” Balistreri said. “It’s sad knowing that something like this happened to him when he was just a great guy. I am thankful I knew him as well as I did all because he impacted my life. All the jokes he would make and the memories we all had as students with him will never be forgotten.”
    “He was always willing to help out in any way,” Basquez said. “He developed a lot of students into trainers.”
       “He was a sincere person,” Stoffler said. “He wanted to make a difference.”
    Deputies are continuing their investigation. Anyone with information should contact the sheriff’s office at 1-800-436-9276, ext. 2855, or contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-08477 (www.nocrimestoppers.com)

Contact Steve Smith at ssmith@metrowestnewspapers.com or at 303-659-2522, ext. 224.



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