By Chris McCarthy
The Ginn name is well known to those persons familiar with Gadsden State Community College athletics.
The family tradition continued with the recent naming of Scott Ginn as the new head coach for the Gadsden State men’s basketball team. His brother Todd, who resigned April 30, was the program’s head coach from 2006-2016.
“After an extensive search for a new basketball coach, we are pleased to continue a relationship with someone who has a long history with Gadsden State,” said GSCC Athletic Director Mike Cancilla. “Scott has proven to be a leader, a remarkable coach and a role model with an impeccable reputation for putting his players first. We are excited about him taking the head coaching reins for the 2016-17 season.”
Scott and Todd’s dad Larry was a player on the 1969-70 Cardinal basketball team, the last one to win a conference championship. Larry later went on to be a Hall of Fame basketball and football coach at Alexandria High School. All three of his sons – Todd, Scott and Will – played basketball at Gadsden State, with Scott and Will serving as volunteer assistant coaches for Todd over the past several seasons.
“I’ll try not to let the family name down if I can,” said Scott, who teaches seventh grade math at Alexandria. “We’ve come close a couple of times with Todd in making the state title game. A lot of things have to fall your way for that to happen, but winning the conference championship is definitely our goal eventually.”
Scott admitted to being a bit overwhelmed with the off-the-court responsibilities of a head coach.
“You have to make sure everyone is eligible, and there’s a lot of paperwork involved with that and I want to make sure that I do everything right, especially since I’ve gotten a late start on recruiting. I only have a couple of scholarships to give out, and we want to make sure that the right kids get them and go through the proper protocol.”
Scott currently has 13 scholarship positions on the team, two less than other community colleges in the state.
“We stress to our guys that they’re not only here to play basketball but to get an education, and that they’ll get one chance at that,” he said. “We do have obstacles. We play in a tough conference and have tough opposition in our non-conference play. We’ll be up against teams that are ranked in the Top 25 nationally. But we’re going to fight and we’re not going to give up.”
Since he handled the program’s conditioning responsibilities for the past several years, Scott noted that he will not alter the team’s up-temto offense and pressure defense philosophy.
“We’re trying to get the toughest boys around,” he said. “The fundamentals that I learned from my dad at Alexandria, I’ll be passing on to my players. We’re going to hustle. My coaching style is fast-paced, so I want to use the whole court. We’re going to be aggressive and we’re going to be hungry.”
While in high school, Scott was an All-State selection in both basketball and football and was a part of three state championship teams. He also earned the opportunity to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game.
After graduating in 1998, Scott earned a scholarship to play basketball at Gadsden State before transferring to play point guard at Shorter College in Rome, Ga., where he earned a degree in middle school math and science education with a reading and physical education add-on. He eventually earned a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama-Gadsden.
Scott coached and taught for two years at Spring Garden High School, where he was an assistant coach for the 2005-06 boys basketball team that made the Final Four.
Last year the Cardinals finished 17-13 overall and 8-4 in the Alabama Community College Conference.
The 2014-15 Cardinals went 24-8 and fell to Faulkner State in the conference championship. Todd twice was named ACCC Coach of the Year.
“I’m very happy for Scott,” said Todd. “He knew that we have a pretty good thing going and with so many of the freshman coming back, he thought he could move forward and try to continue what we’ve been doing. He’ll have an uphill climb with the tough schedule, but hopefully he’ll take the under-recruited guys and make men out of them and play pretty good basketball in the process.”
Todd, who also teaches at Alexandria High, will soon open a sports academy and training facility in the Alexandria/Ohatchee area along with Will.
The way the sport of basketball is played is very important to Scott.
“I’d rather protect the style of play than my record,” he said. “I will not compromise the purity of the game to win. When we win, we’ll celebrate because we got there as a team. I believe that God gave me the gift to relate to children. I accept the challenges that go with that. I work hard to be the best role model and coach I can be for them.”
Scott is also planning ways to increase attendance at home games at Beck Field House.
“We need the support of our community,” he said. “I’m looking for support from the stakeholders in Gadsden State and the communities we serve – our college leadership, faculty and staff; our elected officials; our students; our parents.
“One thing I’d like to do is get more of the local businesses to support us, and in return I’ll offer my team to do some public relations stuff. We want them to know that we represent them.”
Scott pointed out that being a teacher and a coach is all about the celebrations that come with the challenges.
“I want to celebrate all of my students’ and my players’ gifts, whether it’s sports, academics, music, performing arts, whatever it may be,” he said. “I want them to use their talents to do well. I want them to grow to be good, responsible citizens. A lot of my players will grow to be coaches themselves, because athletics is their gift. I’m here to cultivate that gift and to help them be the best they can be. We want to teach our kids to dedicate themselves to achieving something bigger then themselves.”
This article was supplemented by www.gadsdenstate.edu.