Ginn beating cancer, back with his 'kids' 

July, 31, 2013
High school coaches have joked that having a star recruit can be the death of them. For Ted Ginn Sr., it's something that pushed him forward.

His love for his players helped guide him through some dark days.

The Cleveland Glenville coach, who has sent dozens of players on to college and the NFL -- including his son Ted Jr., who plays for the Carolina Panthers -- went in for what he thought was a minor hernia surgery last year.

Doctors found pancreatic cancer -- a cancer so nasty that only five percent of those diagnosed survive.

[+] EnlargeTed Ginn Sr., Troy Smith
AP Photo/Tony DejakTed Ginn Sr. -- shown in 2006 with one of his former star players, Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith -- is back in the saddle at Cleveland Glenville High School after missing the 2012 season.
It led to a long hospital stay, and an entire season away from his team. At Glenville, a school in inner-city Cleveland, the streets claim a lot more athletes than college football programs do. But Ginn’s drive to get his players to a better life was a force.

“That was the toughest part,” Ginn said. “I didn’t know I was that sick. I was sick more because I couldn’t be around my kids.

“Any time you’re incarcerated in a place where you can’t engage with what you do for a living, it’s tough. Missing it is what saved my life.”

Missing Ginn is what has ESPN 300 standouts Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore said was the void of last season.

A perennial powerhouse, the Tarblooders finished with an 8-2 record and missed the Division I state playoffs. The record was good, but Glenville beat just one team with a winning record, and that squad was only 6-4.

The two losses? Those came to Catholic powerhouses Cleveland St. Ignatius and Lakewood St. Edward and weren’t even close.

“With him being away, we weren’t Glenville,” Smith said. “It didn’t feel like the usual team. Now that he’s here, it’s like we’re back.

“He changed the whole atmosphere of the team. It’s the little things. He doesn’t have to say anything. His presence has changed the attitude. He makes us want to be great. He’s pushing us.”

He’s pushing his kids to wait on committing to a college, which for some might be the hardest part. As colleges show interest, the lure of a coveted offer can be tantalizing to a teenager.

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