Ferguson admits Elizabeth Thomson's strap forced him to make the most of his opportunities.
"Six from that belt and you were in absolute agony. That was the punishment you had, in my case, usually for fighting in the playground," he said in a feature entitled "My Best Teacher" published by the Times Educational Supplement.
Ferguson, famous for being a fierce disciplinarian himself whose "hair dryer" verbal admonishments of his players are the stuff of legend, said: "Elizabeth Thomson was an inspiration to me.
"She had a raw determination about her and she improved everyone she touched.
"Mrs Thomson endeavoured to make you be the best you could be. Yes, that part of me comes from her."
For breaking stories and all the great banter like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tribalfootball