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PD article on Glenville



Making the most of the system
Many of the city's top players are heading to Glenville, and not much can be done about it
Monday, November 01, 2004
Bob Fortuna
Plain Dealer Reporter

How has Glenville gone from being just an other Cleveland public school football team to a perennial champion and playoff contender? And is that good for Senate Athletic League football?

Some observers point to the fact that the nucleus of Glenville's coaching staff has remained intact since the arrival of Ted Ginn Sr., while most other Senate teams have changed coaches every two or three years.

Some say that Glenville's dominance hasn't been good for the league, and that Ginn has used Cleveland's liberal transfer standards to court players away from opposing Senate schools, in violation of Ohio High School Athletic Association bylaws. But nobody has provided substantial proof, according to Leonard Jackson, Director of Interscholastic Athletics in the Senate.

"If there's a problem, people doing the complaining know the procedure," Jackson said. "They need to tell their principal, who then has to submit a letter to the regional superintendent. That letter is then sent to me, and I'll do the investigating.

"So far, nobody has followed through."

Students in the Cleveland Municipal School District have neighborhood schools they're designated to attend, but the bottom line is parents can choose to send their child to any public school in the city. The choices vary from small learning schools, to themed schools or branches of the Reserve Officers Training Corps that are offered throughout the district.

"Our students have 14 high schools to choose from," Jackson said. "Each of them offer a number of specialized programs."

Players on the current Glenville team are attending the school and specializing in disciplines ranging from science to business to leadership and fine arts.

Last season for example, senior nose tackle-wide receiver Mike McGowan was living on Cleveland's near East Side, but was granted a special transfer to John Marshall because he wanted to attend the school's Teachers Academy.

The most-used reason students and parents give for transferring is academics, but Jackson knows better.

"Kids aren't dumb and neither am I," Jackson said. "Kids look at certain programs, they look at certain coaches who care for the players and they look at certain winning traditions. The student and his or her parents evaluate that, then choose what they want to do."

With 70,000 students in the Cleveland Municipal School District, keeping attendance figures updated throughout the system is a full-time job in itself.

"We have kids moving three, sometimes four times during the school year," Jackson said. "And the mobility rate is very high, especially at the K-8 schools."

Collinwood coach Cecil Shorts Jr. lost seven players to Glenville a year ago, five of them starters, in what he was hoping would be a turnaround year in his third season with the Railroaders. Shorts lost another player to Glenville this year, but refused to blame Ginn.

"Coach Ginn does a great job over there," said Shorts, a graduate and former player and assistant coach at Glenville. "He works very hard and is very organized, but we're busy over here, too."

Shorts keeps up with eligibility lists, has study tables and holds conditioning sessions 6-7:40 a.m., five days a week from January to June and "never missed a day." He takes a number of players to college football camps and clinics "until my finances are used up."

The issue isn't about caring for Shorts. It's about loyalty and commitment. He's tired of parents telling him to his face they're behind him, then the next day, taking their children to Glenville.

"The people in the city of Cleveland are not aware that its takes talent, grades and test scores to go to college," Shorts said. "It's refreshing to watch players, from our area, playing football in the Big Ten."

Shorts keeps track of what players from what schools are getting scholarships, and knows Glenville isn't the only Cleveland public school where good things are happening.

"It's just that Coach Ginn has the parents convinced his program is the savior," he said.

Shorts also feels administrators need to shoulder some of the blame "for the mass recruiting going on at all the Cleveland schools, not just in football."

"These problems have to be addressed by the people who are in charge," he concluded. "Without their help, changes won't happen."

Shaker Heights football coach Dave Sedmak feels the structure of the Cleveland system makes it easy for players to go to other schools and maintain their eligibility.

"The individuals I feel for are the people who've been coaching a long time in the Cleveland schools, like Gerry Stueber [of East Tech] and Roye Kidd [of John F. Kennedy]," Sedmak said. "It makes it difficult for their programs to compete with Glenville."

another PD article on Glenville & Pierre Woods (the one who got away)
article on Papa Ginn

Man on a mission
Eight years after Ted Ginn Sr. became football coach at Glenville, the Tarblooders have left their Senate competition in the dust
Monday, November 01, 2004
Bob Fortuna
Plain Dealer Reporter

Uncertainties lie ahead for the Cleveland Mu nicipal School District. A money shortage caused more than 1,400 positions to be cut in the district last spring, including teachers, bus drivers, custodians, coaches and other staff. On Tuesday, Cleveland voters may or may not approve another tax increase.

But one thing is certain.

As long as Ted Ginn Sr. is the head coach at Glenville, the Tarblooders will reign in the Senate Athletic League. Eight years ago, Ginn was a school security guard at Glenville and landed the head coaching job because nobody else wanted it.

Since then, the Tarblooders have become the Cadillac program of the Cleveland public schools, and Ginn has emerged as one of the most influential figures in Northeast Ohio high school football.

Players flock to Glenville from all over the city, leaving their neighborhood schools to play for him. And while the rest of the Cleveland public school programs seem to be running on a treadmill, the Tarblooders have run past the opposition.

Since a loss to East Tech in 1997, the Tarblooders have been perfect in league action, cruising to seven consecutive crowns. In 1999, they became the first Cleveland public school to qualify for the state football playoffs. As the 2004 state playoffs begin this week, Glenville is 59-18 under Ginn and has qualified for the Division I state playoffs five of the eight seasons he has been coach.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and college coaches from across the Midwest call to talk to Ginn, seeking insight on players.

Under Ginn's direction, over 30 Glenville players have earned college scholarships to Division I schools.

Duane Long, recruiting editor for Ohio High Magazine said there's a reason many of Cleveland's best players run to "The Promised Land."

"Ted Ginn Sr. has made his program so appealing that players are coming to him," Long said. "Last year alone, I had four players approach me about how they could transfer to Glenville. Other players have asked me specifically for directions on how to get to the school."

For Ginn, it's all about being proud of the Glenville program and the Glenville neighborhood. It's a feeling he wants his players to share when they graduate and leave the school.

"A lot of this is about giving back to the community," said Ginn, 48. "My wife and I firmly believe that and preach that to our children all the time."

Spreading his roots

Ted Ginn Sr.'s roots in the Glenville community are as deep as a sturdy oak tree's. He graduated from Glenville, played football for the Tarblooders and still lives in the neighborhood with his wife, Jeanette, also a Glenville graduate.

Their daughter, Tiffany, was a track standout for the Tarblooders. Their son, Ted Jr., graduated in June as the most decorated athlete in school history and one of the country's most recruited high school football and track athletes. He is currently a standout freshman football player at Ohio State and has scored three touchdowns, two via punt returns and the other on a pass from another ex-Tarblooder, quarterback Troy Smith.

In 1996, Ted Sr. was a security guard at Glenville and serving as an assistant under longtime Tarblooders football coach James Hubbard. When Hubbard retired, Ginn wanted the job, but because he's not a member of the teacher's union, he had to wait the allotted amount of time for the position to be posted within the district. When there were no takers, he applied, interviewed and was given the job.

Even then, before the success, Ginn caught looks of resentment from some people at Glenville and other Cleveland schools who felt he was underqualified because he is not a certified teacher.

"That still bothers me, because a lot of people didn't want to give me a chance," said Ginn, who still holds the job as a security guard. "There's still people out there who won't talk to me. But when Coach Hubbard gave it up, everyone deserted the program. All I wanted to do was keep it together."

Keeping it together has evolved into a full-time job for Ginn.

While others vacation or take weekends of rest and relaxation in June, July and August, Ginn never stops. This summer, he took two days off. The rest of the time, he pushed his players to attend conditioning sessions; promoted them by returning phone calls from various publications and college coaches; and drove them - and some non- Glenville players - to a smorgasbord of football camps and clinics in what has become an annual summer tradition. The jaunts have taken them to Ohio State, Akron, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Indiana, Illinois, Youngstown State and Michigan State University - wherever there are skills to be learned and coaches to impress. Most of the time, players live on brown-bag lunches and travel in a van rented with money out of Ginn's pocket.

"I go broke sometimes," said Ginn.

Some are one-day camps, others last two or three days, but it's a method of promotion he learned while watching the explosion of AAU basketball. Ohio High Magazine's Long said all the effort pays off.

"With all the restrictions instituted by the NCAA, college recruiters can't be out there 12 months a year beating the bushes," Long said. "Game films aren't good enough anymore. College coaches want to see these kids in person, so it's important they attend as many camps as possible.

"You have to take the kids to the coaches, and coach Ginn knows that. I call it 'Ted Ginn's Magical Bus Tour.' I don't know why he even bothers owning a house, because he's never home."

During the season, Ginn doesn't relent. He takes players to college games, often making arrangements to have them on the sidelines for an up-close view. Many times, Glenville players have been inside the locker room to hear a big-time college coach give a halftime speech.

"Coach Ginn gets his players ready for college ball," said Ohio State's Tressel, who has four former Tarblooders on this year's team and at least one more on the way in current Glenville senior Jamario O'Neal. "When his players come to play at this level, they have an idea what's expected of them."

Sometimes, college coaches come to Ginn for advice.

University of Akron first-year coach J.D. Brookhart met Ginn seven years ago at the University of Pittsburgh camp, where Brookhart was a Panthers assistant at the time. And even though Pitt never landed a Glenville player, the Ginn-to-Brookhart connection remained intact. This season, Brookhart has four Glenville players on his Akron team.

"I've called Ted when I've had a situation with a player, and asked him how he'd handle it," Brookhart said. "I'd tell him how I was thinking of handling it, then he'd give me his opinion and we'd come up with a solution.

"Even though I've moved on, we still talk often."

Those late-night conversations with college coaches have opened doors for numerous Tarblooders. Last spring, nine Glenville athletes signed national letters of intent to Division I colleges. Eight were football players, one earned a scholarship for track, a sport Ginn also coaches at Glenville. John Cousette, 6-2, 260-pound defensive tackle who transferred from Collinwood for his senior year, was one of those signees. He is now a freshman at North Carolina A&T.

"I love Coach Ginn like a father," Cousette said. "I felt at home [at Glenville]. The coaches do a lot for their players. They get college coaches to look at us, and I wasn't getting that kind of attention at Collinwood."

The big draw

That kind of reputation has made Ginn and his staff the top draw for Cleveland's public school football talent.

When 6-5, 280-pound tackle Darryl Campbell transferred from East Tech to Glenville for his senior season, he became the first player East Tech coach Gerry Stueber had lost to the Tarblooders in his 20 years at the school. Campbell left Tech for the same reasons eight other transfers joined the Glenville program this season. He wanted to play for a winner and earn a college scholarship.

For Darryl's mom, Tracy Campbell, it went deeper. Transferring was Tracy Campbell's idea, but she left the final decision to Darryl, the oldest in a family of four children who live in the John Hay district. Tracy felt her son was getting nowhere at East Tech.

"A couple of years ago, I read this story in the newspaper about how the Glenville football players are involved with a reading program, where they go out and read to little kids," she said.

So Tracy Campbell called Ted Ginn, who came to the house with a couple of his assistant coaches for a two-hour visit. The first 45 minutes was devoted to football. "The rest of the time was spent talking about the important things," Tracy Campbell said. Ginn and his assistants told them how they would motivate Darryl to get his grades up, but also told the Campbells they would have to do their part.

"It wasn't a rush job, but they told it like it is," Tracy Campbell said. "I can communicate with those coaches. I felt good when they left the house."

Tracy Campbell said two other reasons for her son's transfer was East Tech's lack of a year-round study table, and the "lackadaisical" way eligibility cards were being kept.

Stueber vehemently denies the last accusation.

"We do a good job at keeping up eligibility cards," said Stueber. "Anytime she wants to see her son's card, she can, because I still have it.

"If we're doing such a bad job teaching our kids, then why do the majority of our students choose to stay at East Tech? Our kids aren't playing football at the Ohio States and Michigans because they don't run the times in the 40-meter dash they need to in order play in those kinds of programs."

But then, after taking a breath, Stueber went on to praise Ginn, whom he considers a friend.

"Nobody works harder than Ted, not even me," Stueber said. "He's a father figure to a lot of those kids. Maybe I'm not, but I'll tell you this: The people in our community know we place our kids at colleges where we know they're going to have a chance to play and succeed."

Darryl Campbell has gone to pull B's and C's at Glenville, and Tracy Campbell credits Glenville's "Play It Smart" Program. "They keep up with Darryl's grades on a weekly basis, all year long," she said. "They've kept their word."

And Ginn says that's what's important to him- keeping his word and doing the best he can for the his players. He doesn't have time for controversy or having to explain why so many kids from across the city want to play for him. He's too busy trying to keep the Tarblooders program one step ahead of the others.

"I'm not going to apologize for working hard," Ginn said. "This has become a 24/7 thing for me, and it's got nothing to do with wins and losses. It's about taking care the children.

"It's what God put me on earth to do."
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