By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Of all the terrific athletes who have passed through Cullman County over the years, it would be hard pressed to find one with a better overall resume than Ginger Holt.
The once seven-sport 1988 Cullman High graduate blitzed the opposition over her four-year prep career, garnering several records, collecting numerous accolades and setting up a solid foundation for all her life’s successes.
Holt’s athletic and academic achievements will be set in stone when the former Bearcat is inducted into this year’s Cullman County Sports Hall of Fame class in a ceremony at the Civic Center today at 6:30 p.m.
“Seeing who all was nominated this year, it’s a huge honor for me,” Holt said. “Growing up in Cullman County and seeing the quality of people who are being inducted alongside of me, I feel very fortunate to be nominated.”
Holt got her sports on at the ripe age of 3 by becoming the youngest-ever member of the Cullman Swim Team, which she was a part of until her graduation 15 years later.
In high school, she was nothing short of exemplary.
As a member of the track team, Holt earned All-State honors all four years, including a Class 5A state track MVP award her junior season and All-American recognition in her final year. She also currently holds the state record for the discus throw, as well as numerous other state and local records.
On the basketball court, Holt was even better, netting three-straight All-State honors, an All-American award, an All-American Scholastic Award — one of just 11 handed out to seniors nationwide — and the coveted Bryant-Jordan Scholar Athlete Award.
Along with those accolades, Holt became the first athlete to be commemorated with a painting on the walls of the Cullman High Gymnasium, where her No. 52 jersey is retired.
She participated on the volleyball team and also dabbled in bicycling, dancing and kickboxing as well.
“I really appreciated the Bryant-Jordan Award,” Holt said. “The academic and athletic awards in basketball were really great, too.”
Holt credits her parents for allowing her to do all she did throughout her high school career.
“My father raised me to be really organized with my time,” she said. “Both my parents did so much for me. They drove me to every meet and every game I had. My dad got licensed as a bus driver to help with travel. All the equipment and the practice as well. I certainly couldn’t have done sports without them by my side.”
Although sports helped Holt gain her notoriety, she also claimed that being an athlete helped her become a better leader.
One could certainly make that case, as Holt was also the school’s class president and salutatorian her senior year.
She later attended UAB on a basketball scholarship from 1988-1992, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology before attending medical school.
Following her graduation from there, Holt moved on to Vanderbilt for her five-year residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University Medical Center. She followed that up with two separate fellowships in Toronto and Denver.
She even found her way on the Discovery Channel in 2007, appearing on the T.V. show “Surgery Saved My Life: Bionic Bones.”
“Athletics made me become a better leader,” Holt said. “It was very important to me because I don’t think you accomplish great success without being a good team player.”
Despite her wealth of success, Holt remains humble to this day, stating she knows she wouldn’t be where she is without the help of her various supporting casts.
“I’m very proud of all I accomplished in high school,” she said. “However, I fondly remember the people and teammates who helped me and pushed me to get better.”
Holt added the impact sports made on her life extended far beyond the basketball court.
“I am who I am today because of playing sports and having the help and support of my parents, teammates and coaches,” she said. “Being an athlete has helped me connect with so many people, including my patients. You really could say that my past is still very much my present.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.