By Steve Sanders
© 2007 The Augusta Chronicle
AUGUSTA, Ga. – When he’s not at the hockey rink, Augusta Lynx coach Bob Ferguson is likely to be found at a baseball game somewhere, sitting in the bleachers wearing shorts and boat shoes.
It’s a love he’s had since childhood, when his father used to take him to Yankee Stadium each summer.
“I like watching hockey games when I’m working, but if I had the chance to watch baseball or hockey, it probably would be baseball,” said Ferguson, 52, a regular at ballparks all over the Augusta area. “I’ve always been a big baseball fan.”
But while baseball is his hobby, hockey is his lifelong occupation.
When he was very young, his father, Lorne, played alongside the likes of Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull as a left winger in the NHL’s Original Six days.
He was drafted as a 16-year-old center in 1974 and played 10 seasons in the lower ranks, never making it to the NHL.
“After years of waiting in the minors for the call, I finally just figured they lost my number, because they never called,” Ferguson said. “I saw the handwriting on the wall, that I was never going to make it to the NHL as a player. So the opportunity to coach presented itself when I was 26, and I took it.”
He captured a major junior league championship in his first season, 25 years ago, and hasn’t stopped winning.
These days, when Ferguson is at the rink, he can be found either in a black warm-up suit and skates or behind the bench in a suit, barking instruction to the Lynx.
He didn’t make it to the NHL as a player, but he remains optimistic he can as a coach.
“Every day I think about coaching at a higher level. It’s still my goal to coach in the NHL one day,” Ferguson said. “My goal growing up was to play in the NHL, and that didn’t happen. Now my goal is to coach in the NHL.
“If it happens, I’d be extremely grateful, but if it doesn’t, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every year I’ve ever coached.”