Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 14, 2013

Former Lady Blazer Ferguson hired to lead Vikettes

VALDOSTA — The sign above the door still has Shan Garner’s name on it. There is even a Shan Garner plaque sitting on one of the shelves in the corner of the gymnasium office.

That will soon change, though, as Lowndes has hired its newest girls’ basketball coach.

The office is Brittany Ferguson’s new work space. Ferguson, the former All-American at Valdosta State who spent one season as a graduate assistant with the Lady Blazers, was hired as the new Vikettes’ head coach Monday evening when approved by the board of education.

“I am absolutely ecstatic,” said Ferguson, sitting in her office that did feature a few of her plaques from Valdosta State and a lot of nails left hanging in the wall where pictures once hung from Garner’s era. “I didn’t get butterflies until I started holding summer team camp forms in my hand. I said, ‘Whoa, this is real.’ But I am just really anxious to get started.”

Ferguson replaces Garner as the Vikettes’ coach, after Garner took a new job in another field of employment following a 186-56 record that included four Region 1 championships in nine seasons with the Vikettes.

Needless to say, Ferguson, who will teach physical education like Garner did, has rather large shoes to fill as the Vikettes’ head coach.

“I try to not think of it like that,” Ferguson said. “When you try to fill someone’s shoes, you always come up short because you will never be that person. So I try to think that I am buying a whole new pair. This pair is just as shinny, if not even more shinny. I’m bringing in new ideas with a lot of energy.”

With her hire being approved Monday night, Ferguson was introduced to her new team Tuesday. One player that everyone is talking about is All-State forward Tashia Brown, the co-Region 1 Player of the Year in 2012-13.

“I’m being told that she is the player and you can’t help but want to centralize your offense around her,” Ferguson said. “But I also want to make sure I broadcast my other players and make sure they have an equal role and that they help her and she helps them. I want a united team and for everyone to be showcased.”

After years of being a defensively minded team under Garner, Ferguson says she is hoping to implement a fast-paced system with the Vikettes, saying she wants her team to run the floor.

And while she lacks the major coaching experience, Ferguson says her youth and recent success as a player at the college level — she last played in 2011-12, leading the Lady Blazers to the Sweet 16 — will hopefully help her connect as a coach with her new players.

“They way its happened, I think it will benefit me and my kids,” Ferguson said. “I just came where they are trying to go. It is closely connected. What I’ve learned, they are trying to learn. It is not a far disconnect and I should be able to relate to the kids. I was there. I am very comfortable in my ability to coach, but I do understand that there is a lot to learn.”

Although she says acknowledges her lack of experience, she says the experience she has already gained is critical in who she is today.

“I was under great leadership with Kiley Hill and Jennifer Grubbs (at VSU),” Ferguson said. “What more could I ask for? They are great at strategy and they are great at being a people’s coach. You understand that playing for them and coaching for them.”  

With the youth of coaching, Ferguson says she plans on reaching out to current coaches and administrators at Lowndes.

“I told coaches here, ‘You know I am going to ask questions,’” Ferguson said. “I said, ‘Don’t give me a number if you don’t want me to use it. Because I am going to be calling.’ I think that is normal.

She also plans on picking the mind of her former coach at Valdosta State.

“With as many times as I sat in that office as a player and a coach, I will probably be there even more,” Ferguson said. “What a resource that is to have that right down the road. A lot of the things I will coach is because of (Hill).”

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0728-Lowndes practice4.jpg Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon

    The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
    The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomasville_Ryals.jpg South Georgia special for high school coaches

    Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
    The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog