Back in May of 2012, Joe Ginley ’12 was wrapping up four years of extensive involvement in the Saint Ignatius Broadcast Network and The Eye as a graduating senior at Saint Ignatius. A good student who poured his heart into school and his extracurricular activities, the jolly young man from West Park was an obvious choice for the Connor J. Murphy Bellringer Award, given at graduation to a student who has demonstrated a love for Saint Ignatius High School and has been instrumental in leadership and school spirit.
He departed Wildcat High for John Carroll University, where he turned his passion for sports media into a career, graduating in 2016.
Now, four years after brilliantly serving as the first Communications Coordinator for Athletics at Saint Ignatius, while also moderating the SIBN and The Eye, Mr. Ginley returns to JCU as its new Sports Information Director.
Ginley is perhaps the perfect person to fill the enormous shoes left by longtime JCU SID Chris Wenzler, a beloved John Carroll alumnus who held the position for more than 30 years before he passed away in June after a battle with multiple myeloma.
“I literally would not be who I am and where I am without Boss Man,” Ginley said in June. “He believed in me when I didn't. He listened to me when others wouldn't. He inspired me when I couldn't. He was a boss, mentor, father figure, and friend.”
And while it might be a little strange to occupy his mentor’s role, Ginley’s brilliant resume of work speaks for itself.
He was hired in June 2016, just after his graduation from John Carroll, in part for his incredible work ethic and sincere love of high school sports—especially the Saint Ignatius Wildcats. He hit the ground running by leading the research, planning and launch of the school’s first athletics website, www.ignatiuswildcats.com.
From there, he took on the responsibility of leading all coverage of 16 Varsity sports teams, and expanded that reporting to include freshman and JV teams. At first, it was writing game recaps on weeknights and eventually filling the shoes of celebrated Cleveland sports reporter Eddie Dwyer, who covered the Wildcats for years.
But Ginley used his training to grow sports coverage, including the presence of Saint Ignatius athletics on social media. He provided in-game updates on Twitter and Instagram, making engaging coverage available to fans young and old. Additionally, he took ownership of the gameday experience that the Athletic Department sought to provide at sporting events, expanding the player introductions, programs, videos and signage from football into basketball, soccer, hockey and lacrosse. It was professional work, and it made Saint Ignatius a leader in the high school sporting experience.
So he was ready for the biggest productions of his life when the Saint Ignatius vs. St. Edward football game was first moved to FirstEnergy Stadium in October 2016. Ginley led a team that ensured the student-athletes, parents, fans and media had an unparalleled experience at a high school football game. He coordinated video breaks on the scoreboard, music interludes from the band, and in-game announcements, all while also leading the coverage with his team of students, and providing abundant story lines for the local media.
“I think, frankly, he set the expectation that when we show up for a contest, when we show up for a game—whether it’s at FirstEnergy Stadium or Byers Field or any stadium—he will come in with game notes. He takes his time to talk to coaches to understand the teams. The professionalism that he brings to the table elevated our athletic experience,” says Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick ’88.
And while Ginley worked earnestly around events both small and large, he never forgot who the athletic program is for: the students.
“He took the job to heart. This was definitely a job he loved, and it was a job he did well because he loved it so much and because he loves this school so much. There was passion in his job, and it was very easy to see that passion in his reporting, in his stories, in how he took care of the young men of Saint Ignatius. He made them the center of everything he did.”
That he shaped the future of the SIBN is without question. Ginley found students who were hungry for opportunity, and he gave it to them. And as a few young men joined the ranks and enjoyed the work, so did a few more, and then more. Now, roughly 60 Saint Ignatius students are actively covering Wildcat sports, writing excellent recaps, posting in-game social media updates, making enjoyable radio broadcasts, and producing quality video profiles.
“Its very, very rare to see someone who is so new at a job trusting a bunch of 15-year-old guys to go and call a hockey game,” says Jack O’Rourke ’20, who joined the SIBN as a freshman and began college at JCU this fall. “Having someone who is paramount to my success, having faith in me and trusting me and building confidence in me is something I’ll never be able to repay.”
“I think it’s very cool that I get to spend the next four years with him,” O’Rourke adds. “He knows how to get the best out of me. It’ll be very easy to keep that going forward. I was almost as excited as he was when I found out he got the job.”
For coaches, Ginley made himself available to put their ideas into action and give student-athletes the coverage they crave.
“I know his title says ‘communications’ but he was way more than his title,” says Director of Youth Programming and Head Basketball Coach Cam Joyce. “Everybody’s seen that. What he did for each sport was tremendous. He was all over the place… That’s a credit to who he is. The selfless service that he wanted to provide for the school.”
“The biggest thing that I loved about him was he wanted to make whatever sport that he was covering, make those kids feel like that was the biggest sport,” Joyce adds.
Director of Sophomore Service and Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ’85 says that Ginley took the marketing and promotion of his team, in particular, to a different level.
“Times have changed, and as the times change so do the needs to promote, to make sure that our program is easily accessible by the world,” he says. “What he’s done for our program over the last four years has really been incredible. To see how many people tune in to listen to our games from all over the world really is a testament to Joe and all he’s done to promote soccer.”
Ginley took advantage of the national and international trips made by various Varsity teams, venturing to France with Rugby and Jamaica with Soccer.
“It’s been wonderful to work with Joe these last four years,” McLaughlin says. “He’s become a great friend to me personally and to the Soccer program, and we’re all going to miss him.”
His supervisor, Director of Marketing & Communications Lisa Metro, actually hired Ginley twice—first as a 20-year-old summer intern in 2014, and then again two years later.
“Having an extra set of hands was great,” she says. “Although when you bring Joe Ginley on as your intern you actually get like six or seven extra sets of hands.”
“His leadership skills have grown,” Metro says. “He sits outside my office so I know what’s going on and I hear him interact with students on the SIBN, and I see how he does things that are teachable moments. He leads with how to grow this young man and how to form this young man to be better at what he’s doing.”
As Ginley takes his leave of Saint Ignatius, the community at West 30th and Lorain will miss his tireless work ethic, his constantly cheerful demeanor, and the genuine care he showed to each teacher, coach, staff member and student he encountered.
“He’s been a good friend and colleague to everybody on this team,” Metro says. “Joe brings an absolute, authentic sense of delight to the workplace. He’s a very loving young man. I’m going to miss his authentic joy.”
Mr. Ginley, thank you for everything. We will miss you.
Good luck, don’t be a stranger—and stay outta trouble!