Six Incredible Seasons

Creel Headed to Lorain

Creel+speaks+with+quarterback+Desmond+Horne+during+the+second-round+playoff+game+on+Oct.+16%2C+2020.+The+Bison+defeated+Warrensville+28-8.

Emily May

Creel speaks with quarterback Desmond Horne during the second-round playoff game on Oct. 16, 2020. The Bison defeated Warrensville 28-8.

Coach Damien Creel resigned in January after six years and six incredible seasons leading Bison Football. 

Creel has accepted a job coaching at Lorain High School. 

Initially he  planned to stay on as a physical education teacher at Beachwood, but he has since resigned and has accepted a full time position teaching at Lorain as well.

Creel, a 1994 BHS graduate, was an exceptional athlete in high school, named first team All-Ohioan in both football and baseball. 

“My favorite memory I have of playing was just that: Playing,” he said. 

Creel elaborated on his memories of high school sports. 

“[I loved] the games, my friends, the things we did after the games. [How my] family would come,” Creel said. 

He felt that the community rallied around the team. 

“The spirit of the school was great. It seemed like there weren’t any issues like we deal with now. They were there, obviously. But it didn’t seem like it.” 

After high school, Creel continued his football and baseball careers for Hiram College, where he earned a BA in education. He went on to coach for a variety of schools in the Cleveland area including Bedford, Cleveland Heights, Richmond Heights and St. Edward.

Coach Creel did some remarkable things… He took a program and built a family atmosphere among the kids, coaches and families. He took our team to back-to-back playoff appearances. His departure is a loss to our athletic department and our kids. He is leaving Beachwood football with a legacy that will be remembered for many years.”

— Athletic Director Ryan Peters

Creel took the helm of Beachwood football in 2015. 

“I decided [to apply] because the job was open and I’d been coaching for a long time, and I thought I was ready to be a head coach,” he said. “[I wanted to] come back home to the place that helped me become the person I am today.” 

“I wanted to give back, and I wanted to start my own program and see what I could do with it,” he added. 

The team went 1-9 his first year, while they went 6-0 in the 2020 season, making school history by achieving an undefeated season and a first home playoff victory. That is one of his favorite memories of his years coaching at Beachwood, along with coaching the first Bison home game under stadium lights. 

“That was pretty special. Along with the process [of building up the program], that was monumental, because that’s something we talked about when I was in school,” he said. “So being the first coach to coach a night game at Beachwood is pretty special.”

While Creel’s last game under those lights may be in the past, Beachwood Athletics Director Ryan Peters emphasized that his legacy is not.

“Coach Creel did some remarkable things… He took a program and built a family atmosphere among the kids, coaches and families,” Peters said. “He took our team to back-to-back playoff appearances. His departure is a loss to our athletic department and our kids. He is leaving Beachwood football with a legacy that will be remembered for many years.”

2018 alum Max Alter, who played football for Creel, echoed this sentiment. 

“Coach Creel was an excellent football coach but an even better life coach,” Alter said. “[He had a remarkable] vested interest in the life and outcome of every person that put on the pads. The ripple impact that Coach Creel’s leadership style has had on the people that he mentored is permanent and undying.”

All the players that I’ve coached and all the players [lives] that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, they will never be forgotten. I appreciate everything that they’ve given me.”

— Coach Damion Creel

Creel’s leadership also saw some controversy. Superintendent Dr. Bob Hardis announced in March 2019 that Creel would not be rehired after an internal investigation found potential recruiting violations by individuals close to the Beachwood football program. A few months later, administrators agreed to rehire him

Sophomore Uzonna Nzekwe, a member of this year’s 6-0 team, has mixed feelings about Creel leaving. 

“I’m not really happy about him leaving, but I felt like he wasn’t treated right. He did a lot for Beachwood, but he had to go through a lot. It was the right decision for him.” 

“The school I came from didn’t have a football team, but Coach Creel made me feel safe,” Nzekwe added. “I came to the season not knowing much about football, and he taught me a lot before the first game. If he’s able to make an impact on me, he can do a lot more for a lot more people.”

Creel explained his approach to coaching. 

“Everyone has a story,” he said. “How you help them navigate through their story is priceless.”

These stories have changed Creel’s life too. 

“All the players that I’ve coached and all the players [lives] that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, they will never be forgotten,” he said. “I appreciate everything that they’ve given me.”

Now it’s time to look forward. 

“I hope the success that we started and the foundation that we built continues,” he said. “I wish nothing but the best.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email