The Augusta Lynx announced Thursday the hiring of John Marks as the team's new head coach. The 60 year old Marks is the all-time ECHL wins leader as a head coach with a 485-412-63-32 record in 990 career-regular season games over 13 seasons with Charlotte, Greenville and Pensacola.
â€œ[We] are ecstatic to be able to bring in a coach of John Marksâ€™ caliber. He certainly knows what it takes to win at this level,â€ co-owner Robert Burch said. â€œWe feel heâ€™s going to be a perfect fit with our organization and our new affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning.â€
Marks was set to continue coaching in Pensacola this fall until the team folded earlier this off-season. He contacted the Lynx about the job on the same day former coach Bob Ferguson announced he was leaving. Ferguson, who was the coach of the Lynx for the past three seasons, left to take an assistant GM position with the American Hockey League's Iowa Chops.
Damian Crisdotero reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that the Augusta Lynx will serve as the team's ECHL affiliate next season, entering into a one year contractual agreement today. The Lightning organization will provide the Lynx with players under NHL and AHL contracts. Tampa Bay will also play a role in selecting the coaching staff. The Lightning's previous ECHL affiliation contract with the Mississippi Sea Wolves expired earlier this season, and the Sea Wolves had already resigned head coach Steffon Walby to an extension.
â€œWe are extremely pleased to welcome the Augusta Lynx to the Lightning organization,â€ Lightning VP of Hockey Operations Brian Lawton said. â€œThe Lynx and their management team are committed to success and it shows by them making the playoffs in six of their 10 seasons in operation. We feel that due to the organizationâ€™s desire to win, and because of its proximity to Tampa and our AHL affiliate in Norfolk, there really is not a better option for us in the ECHL. We look forward to our prospects playing an important role in bringing the Kelly Cup to Augusta.â€
â€œWe are thrilled to be a part of the Lightning organization, and we look forward to working together in order to win championships,â€ Augusta GM Dan Troutman said. â€œWith the aggressive moves their new ownership have pursued since purchasing the team, we feel Tampa Bayâ€™s commitment and passion to winning is a great asset to our club. Our goal as a club is to bring the Kelly Cup to Augusta, and an affiliation with an organization with as much success as the Lightning have had brings us closer to that goal. We look forward to helping young players refine their skills on their road to the NHL.â€
The Lynx play in the James Brown Arena. How cool is that?