By Kristy Shonka
© 2005 The Augusta Chronicle
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Not once has a team under Bob Ferguson’s control failed to reach the playoffs.
That streak spans 23 seasons – 17 in juniors and six in the pros.
“I guess I just take it for granted that that’s what’s going to happen,” Ferguson said.
The Augusta Lynx relocated in 1998 and posted three consecutive playoff appearances, giving fans a similar entitlement feeling. But the Lynx have spent the past four seasons mired in a playoff drought.
That’s why Ferguson is here.
Former Lynx general manager Paul Gamsby hired Ferguson in May to replace Stan Drulia, whose contract was not renewed after two losing seasons. Gamsby remembered Ferguson’s days as coach of the Florida Everblades, with whom he earned back-to-back ECHL Coach of the Year awards.
Ferguson remembered the 1999-2000 Lynx team that sent his highly touted, record-setting Everblades packing in the conference quarterfinals. He also remembered Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center as a place where no visiting team wanted to play.
Ferguson and the new-look Lynx plan to make that memory a reality again this season, which starts at home tonight against South Carolina.
“For the first two years, we’d have 4,000 to 5,000 fans a game and it was really rocking,” said forward Sam Ftorek, who played for the Lynx from 1998-2000 and is back as one of the team’s two veterans. “You had tough guys from the top of the lineup all the way down. It was a whole group of guys that were willing to battle for one another.