CLEVELAND — Since the turn of the century, the St. Ignatius football team has hoisted three championship banners in its gym for football. St. Edward has done it once.
Glenville? It’s never happened.
Truth be told, the Tarblooders have only been to the state finals once — in 2009 — and even that came with a heartbreaking 16-15 loss to Hilliard Davidson.
But if fans want to start talking about recruiting and getting kids to the next level, it’s not even close.
Tarblooders coach Ted Ginn Sr. has been the driving force behind more than 80 Glenville athletes getting Division I scholarships since 2000. It’s a mark that is unequaled in the state and one that impresses even Ginn as his Tarblooders get ready to play Highland on Friday in a Division II state semifinal.
“I wouldn’t say I thought it would blow up like it has, but I had expectations for that,” Ginn said. “This kind of ran off the chain. It went crazy.
“It’s hard for me to say what others do, but we develop the children. We develop the player and then we sell them a dream. Some buy into it, some don’t. It’s the ones that take it to the next level that succeed.”
On any given Saturday — or Sunday, for that matter — it’s not hard to stumble upon a former Tarblooder wreaking havoc on the gridiron.
Since Pierre Woods signed with Michigan in 2000, Ginn has had 39 players join Big Ten programs. Twenty of those players inked with Ohio State and scads of others found success in places like the SEC, Pac-12, ACC and other big-name conferences.
He has coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Troy Smith), Super Bowl participants (Woods, Ted Ginn Jr. and Donte Whitner) and has had countless players perform at the top level of college football.
The list is endless, as players like Shane Wynn at Indiana, Christian Bryant at Ohio State and V’Angelo Bentley at Illinois continue a tradition at Glenville that keeps churning out one superstar after the next.
“Football is the vehicle we use, but it’s the things you do when you’re not playing that get you that success,” Ginn Sr. said. “It’s a system — you can call it a formula — but you put the right ingredients in and it works.
“It’s based on love, exposure and it’s the educational side. You have to navigate through it all. A lot of times we take the education and it’s all mixed up. You have to take that and make it make sense in terms of getting those scholarships.
“You take the kid to Ohio State and expose them to something they’ve never seen. You say, ‘Look at that kid. Doesn’t he look like you? Don’t you think you could do the same things he does?’ If they don’t see it, they don’t know what you’re about.”
The inner-city Cleveland school’s success won’t end anytime soon, as current seniors Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith have already visited Alabama and Marcelys Jones has committed to Ohio State.
They learned the recruiting process when Ohio State freshman Christopher Worley and sophomore Devan Bogard went through it ahead of them. Justin Hardee went through the same thing in 2012 during his recruitment to Illinois and so did Sean Draper at Iowa. Ditto for Willie Henry at Michigan and Wynn with the Hoosiers.
“I was already a step ahead watching guys like Bogard and Worley and seeing them going through the process,” Smith said. “It helps because we all push each other.
“It doesn’t matter who you are. I remember as a sophomore, I was on scout defense going against guys like Bogard, Bentley and Hardee. You make each other better because of it.”
Since 2000, coaches from more than 20 D-I college programs have signed a Glenville player, with many schools inking multiple recruits.
Ginn, whose son still plays in the NFL, could have retired years ago. The coach, who has mentored youth for more than four decades, is set for life. But he sees those that aren’t, so he stays with it.
“The outside influences are out there,” Ginn said. “There’s someone asking them, ‘Man, you think you can graduate, go to college and be a college player by going to Glenville or Ginn Academy?’ Somebody says they can’t be that.
“You have to be ahead of that. The world is set up for failure. This is my calling. This is my purpose. This is not a job. I’m doing what I love.”
When someone like his son or Whitner or even Smith comes back to Glenville to say hello, Ginn makes sure others are around to hear the message from some of his past success stories.
The fact more than 30 Glenville players have picked up D-I scholarships in the last five years and are coming back gives players like current juniors Trevon Story, Milen Golden and Matthew Draper, who are already being recruited by big-time programs, the hope to move on to better things.
“These kids are already average,” Ginn said. “You have to push past it. You have to push past normal. Normal means you’re satisfied. What do you get out of that? The pride for me is that I helped someone have a life and they created another life and will help somebody else.
“It’s about this: What have you done to improve the world? They’re the example of hope for the next group. If the kids don’t see it, we’re just talking. It’s the system. It’s a mindset. It’s Tarblooder Nation. It’s how you think.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.