The way Tim Ginter sees it, he’s not leaving Father Judge for a better opportunity. Just a different one, and it’s a chance he wouldn’t have had if not for the school that has been home for the better part of 20 years.
Ginter, a 1994 Judge graduate and the school’s head baseball coach for the last nine years, has stepped down from his post to accept the same position at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington. Since the early ’90s when he entered Judge as a student, Ginter has worn many different hats at the school. First, he was a student-athlete; then, later, a history teacher, athletic director, assistant coach and, beginning in 2007, head baseball coach.
In many ways, it’s the only place he’s ever known. But now 38 and the father of three young kids, Ginter had to think about more than just himself. Germantown Academy, or GA as it’s known colloquially, is an elite academic and athletic institution that offers education from kindergarten all the way through high school. The school, which has been around since 1759, counts actor Bradley Cooper, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NHL Hall of Famer Mike Richter as some of its notable alumni.
“I’ve been at Judge for more than half of my life,” Ginter said. “I’m a Patriot now, but Father Judge will always hold a special place in my heart. The easiest way to put it is I don’t get to go to an institution like GA if I didn’t spend all this time at Judge. It’s that simple. Personally and professionally, I don’t get this opportunity for myself and my family without Father Judge.”
Ginter follows former Judge football coach and alum Tommy Coyle, now the head coach at Penn Charter, to the Inter-Ac League. Longtime Archbishop Ryan head basketball coach Bernie Rogers also announced recently he was leaving Ryan to teach and coach hoops at the Haverford School, also an Inter-Ac institution. Ginter echoed largely the same sentiment as those two.
“I feel blessed that I’m walking away from a place that treated me so well while walking into a place that will treat me equally as well,” Ginter said. “My grandfather always said to my dad, who said it to me, that money is great, but there’s something to be said about waking up every day and wanting to go to work … I’ve been fortunate to do that the last 16 years.”
Ginter said he would have been more than happy to stay at Judge and didn’t consider himself “a job jumper.” However, he had some conversations with Matt Dence, his former classmate at Judge who is now the head football coach at GA. Ginter valued Dence’s opinion, and wondered if GA would be the type of place where he could fit in. When the job was officially posted, Ginter reached out to GA athletic director Jim Fenerty, who brought him in for an interview and a visit to campus. Ginter was sold immediately, and GA had no problem meeting his required needs to get him to jump from one job to the next. The opportunity for his three children, ages 7, 4 and 1, to all drive to school in the same car one day was too appealing to pass up.
“It’s not a slight to Judge at all,” he said. “It’s a different kind of school, and you feel it right away. I’m a history teacher, so you get a sense of all the history these places have. But more importantly, my wife and I took a tour and saw it as a place where our kids could have a great time enjoying the school and the opportunities it presents. It was going to take a lot to get me to leave Judge, but GA is just one of those special types of places.”
Now, Ginter will never have to worry about missing an art show or a Christmas pageant for one of his kids. It’s an exciting future to look forward to, especially when considering GA returns 13 baseball lettermen next year. But at the same time, Ginter was quick to credit his time at Judge and the relationships he built.
He’s become friends with Bill Fox, Joe McDermott and Whitey Sullivan, former coaches at Judge whom he called “three of the most historic high school coaches in Philadelphia history.” Judge soccer coach John Dunlop, whom Ginter hired, is a close friend, as is basketball coach and fellow Judge grad Sean Tait.
“I gave you five names, but I could mention 105 more,” Ginter said. “Any success I have at GA, that shines a positive light on Father Judge.”
And of course, there were his assistant coaches and players, who Ginter said “put in more hard work and dedication than I ever could have.” In his time as baseball coach, 21 players were named All-Catholic selections, with one league MVP. This past year, Judge went 14–6 overall and 7–5 in the league.
“It’s tough, because a lot of people dream about going back to their high school to coach,” Ginter said. “I was lucky enough to do it for nine years, You always want to leave something in a better place when you leave than when you got there, and I think I did that. I think this year, we helped put Father Judge back on the baseball map. I’m proud of that.” ••