The Ohio High School Athletic Association report came back: Based upon Beachwood’s investigation, no further sanctions will be imposed. There was a school board meeting May 6, which was standing-room only in support of former coach Damion Creel. This board meeting was special, almost out of a movie, except that it wasn’t. It was real. 

It was was a powerful tribute to a man – a real man, a teacher, a coach and a role model, whose devotion to his students and their families goes well beyond and much deeper than football. It was standing-room only in support of a coach who sacrifices much to be there for his players on and off the field. Current and former students and players spoke about what he means to them. Parents of current and former players spoke of the impact he has had on their children and on our community. Former teammates of Creel spoke of his impact and his integrity from their childhood. 

There was a consistent message: Creel is a difference maker. Creel cares. Creel has and teaches integrity. Creel is there for his players and students above and beyond what is expected. Creel shows up. That he is there, often, when no one else is. It is evident Creel has built relationships with students and they know and trust he will always be there, that he believes in them and he believes they are capable of accomplishing anything. They get it. They spoke of how he encourages them, how he sat with them at the hospital, stood beside them as they struggled with injury, illness, loss. They spoke of how he never stopped believing in them and taught them academic and personal accountability. 

Coach Damion R. Creel is one of a kind. As one speaker said, “He is a star and we need our stars to bring their greatness home and that is all he wants to do.”

Jennifer Stern


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