PONTOTOC – Pontotoc High School boys basketball coach Jon Ginn has announced he is trading his practice whistle for a pulpit.
Ginn, 44, is leaving Pontotoc in early October to become worship pastor, with an emphasis on music, for Hope Church in Tupelo.
“It’s something that came about over the last month,” he said. “God has been tugging at my heart.
“It’s bitter sweet. I love these Pontotoc players. I love Pontotoc. It’s going to be hard to walk away.”
Ginn has coached 21 seasons, the last 14 at Pontotoc, where he directed the 2009 Warriors to the state tournamnt, a first for the program. During his tenure at PHS, his teams produced 11 20-win seasons, won two division titles and qualified for the postseason in 10 of the 14 years.
The Red Bay, Ala., native came to Pontotoc after directing Ashland to a state championship in 1997, his fifth season there. He coached his first two seasons at Crystal Springs Middle School.
“God’s timing is not always our timing, which makes it tough,” Ginn said of his recent decision.
Michael Elder, Ginn’s assistant for the last 11 seasons, will replace him in the gym. “I’m excited for Coach Elder; they can’t find a better man,” Ginn said.
Ginn’s not new to the ministry. He’s worked part-time at Friendship Baptist in Pontotoc as choir director and praise team leader during a part of his tenure with the Warriors.
He joins former Tupelo High boys coach David Ball, 43, who is the lead pastor at Hope Church.
“It’s unbelievable what God is doing,” said Ball, who left a state championship contender in Sylacauga, Ala., to enter the ministry. “Before this, I thought I’d die in the gym.
“Jon and will continue to coach. We’ll just be coaching a church to follow Jesus and like a team, operate as one.”
Ginn added, “If God can use a couple of former basketball coaches to lead a church, he can do anything.”
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal