"I guess you could measure it in years, or if you want to measure it in football games, probably about 200-something, or in basketball, I probably watched our kids win 400-500," Chambless said. "Not many people really knew Coach. He was a better Christian man and Christian father than he was a coach. A lot of people thought he was just about winning, but that's not true. The thing he was after was setting a Christian example and providing the best he could for the kids in the community."
Ginn, the legendary Alexandria basketball and football coach, died Friday afternoon after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 59.
Ginn stepped down from his position as head football coach in August of 2007, announcing that he had melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. A few months after that, he also stepped down as head basketball coach. Ginn successfully battled the disease, returning to teach at Alexandria during the 2008-09 school year, but saw a recurrence earlier this year.
Ginn is survived by his wife, Janet, and sons, Todd, Scott and Will.
"He was a heck of a man," Chambless said. "It's a big loss for the community, for the state and most definitely a loss to those kids, even though he hasn't coached for two years. Coaches held him in the highest esteem."
Ginn took over as the football coach at Alexandria in 1986, replacing another Valley Cubs' legend, Lou Scales, who coached for 38 years. During his career, Ginn coached football for 21 years and won nearly 200 games. He was selected to the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. During his tenure, the Valley Cubs won state football titles in 1995 and 1997. He posted a career winning percentage of 78.3, including 71.1 percent in the postseason, going 195-54.
Ginn left his impact in the Calhoun County area in many ways, with the people he coached, as well as the people on the other side of the field and court.
Cleburne County High School football coach Michael Shortt faced off against Ginn many times over the years.
"We lost a good one," Shortt said. "The first thing you think of is that he's a humble competitor. Everybody knew he was sick, but he wasn't going to let the story be about him. The story has always been about the Alexandria kids and the Alexandria community.
"People won't always say it, but as a coach or a team, you measure yourself by how you did against Alexandria."
Former Weaver High School basketball coach Daryl Hamby learned as an assistant from Ginn from 1991 through the 2000 season.
"At one point in the county, there were like three or four of us that had coached under him," Hamby said. "I owe everything I've accomplished to coach Ginn and what I learned from him. What I learned from him is not difficult — it was just hard work and discipline. It's the basic foundation.
"One thing not many knew about him was he was such a great person. He had character beyond anyone I ever met. He never cussed and was always there for the kids."
Hamby said he remembered a time when Ginn paid for summer school for a player.
"He wasn't ever going to be a starter, but (coach Ginn) knew it would benefit him," Hamby said. "He didn't say anything about it. That's just the way coach Ginn was. He was one of the greatest men I ever met."
Ginn starred at Alexandria, then played college basketball at Montevallo, Gadsden State, then finally Jacksonville State, where he earned All-Gulf South Conference honors during the 1972-73 season.
Scales brought Ginn back to Alexandria after his graduation from college to coach lower-level basketball. He was named the varsity basketball coach for the 1978-79 season. The Valley Cubs experienced plenty of success under Ginn, winning three state titles to go with two runner-up finishes and eight Calhoun County tournament titles.
The Valley Cubs claimed state championships back-to-back in 1992 and 1993 and added a third title in 1997. Ginn's teams recorded more than 600 wins and averaged 21 wins per year.
Ryan Chambless, who now is serving as an assistant football coach at Jacksonville High School, and played on three of Ginn's championship teams, said Ginn's knowledge of the game stood out.
"Even after I was in college, I felt like coach Ginn was the most knowledgeable coach, especially in basketball, there is," Chambless said. "He's probably the best basketball coach this state has ever seen. He would point things out in practice and games that other people wouldn't see. He was just that knowledgeable of the game."
Ginn played junior high sports at Weaver before going to high school at Alexandria. During his sophomore year, Ginn, a point guard, helped the Valley Cubs to the state championship game, an overtime loss.
As a senior quarterback, he led Alexandria to an 8-2 record, the Valley Cubs' best record in 15 years. He threw 23 touchdown passes — then a Calhoun County record — and tallied 2,300 yards of total offense. He was one of five Alabama players named to the annual Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team, along with Pat Sullivan and Johnny Musso.
Funeral arrangements were not available as of press time Friday night.