Newly named Lyon College head football coach Casey Creehan
Dr. W. Joseph King, president of Lyon College, and Kevin Jenkins, athletic director of Lyon College, have announced that Casey Creehan has been hired as the third head football coach in program history.
A defense-minded coach with experience at both the professional and collegiate levels, Creehan comes to Lyon College after a two-year stint with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
During his 19 years of coaching experience, Creehan has had the opportunity to coach in two Grey Cup National Championships, 12 CFL playoff games and the NCAA FCS (then I-AA) National Playoffs. Creehan has coached several all-pro players and college All-Americans.
“Any time you can be around young men and help to mold them not only as players but as students and citizens, that’s exciting,” said Creehan. “That’s the job of a college football coach. I want to win, but I want to win with the right people. I want to have the right group of coaches who believe in the mission statement that a school like Lyon College brings to the table.” He went on to explain the importance of a liberal arts education for that goal. “The more education young people can get in every field, the better citizens they’re going to be when they leave Lyon College. In the classroom or on the field, it’s all part of the education process. They’re called student-athletes for a reason.”
Creehan has experience in small college football as both a player and a coach. He was a member of the football team at Grove City College – a national liberal arts college in Grove City, Penn. — that was nationally ranked not only for its success as a private academic institution but for its results on the playing field as well. At Grove City, Creehan was selected as a team captain during the 1998 season, in which the Wolverines won the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship. That same season, Creehan set the school record for most tackles in a single season (126) and earned All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference and All-Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference honors as a linebacker. In 1997, Creehan led the Wolverines to the school’s first postseason appearance in the PAC Championships and earned All-PAC honors as a linebacker.
Creehan has been around small college football his whole life as he comes from a coaching family. His father, Dennis, has been a successful small college head football coach for a large part of his career. The younger Creehan learned a lot from his father and ultimately came into coaching because of him.
Creehan took his first coaching position as a defensive assistant at Lehigh University – a private research university in Bethlehem, Penn. Creehan helped coach the Mountain Hawks to a Patriot League Championship and a berth in the NCAA I-AA National Playoffs.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Casey’s caliber and character to work with our student-athletes at Lyon,” said Jenkins. “He is a great addition to our coaching staff and will be a strong leader for our football program.” Creehan spent this past season as the defensive line coach for the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL. The Eskimos compiled a record of 12-6 during the regular season and made it to the Western Division Finals, finishing the year just one game away from the 105th Grey Cup. Under Creehan’s direction, defensive tackle Almondo Sewell was named to the 2016 and 2017 CLFPA Pro Players’ All-Star Teams.
Prior to coaching the defensive line at Edmonton, Creehan spent two seasons coaching the defensive side of the ball for the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He served as the defensive coordinator and the defensive line coach in 2015 after he spent the 2014 season as the linebackers’ coach.
Creehan turned the Argonauts into a dominating force on the defensive side of the ball as the team led the CFL in forced fumbles in 2015. Before Creehan came to Toronto, the team was ranked last in total sacks, but it finished third in the league during his two-year stint. The Argonauts were the only team in the CFL that did not allow a 100-yard rusher during the 2015 season. The success on the defensive side of the ball led the Argonauts to a CFL playoff berth in 2015.
During the 2012 season, Creehan served as the defensive coordinator and the defensive line coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL. He came to Hamilton after a one-year stint as the defensive line coach at Eastern Michigan University, where he signed future All-American Andy Mulumba, who went on to play for the Green Bay Packers in the National Football League.
In 2008, the Montreal Alouettes hired Creehan to coach the linebackers and serve as the front-seven coordinator, working alongside former Chicago Bears (NFL) Head Coach Marc Trestman. Creehan turned the Alouettes from the sixth-best team in rush defense into the second-best team. Montreal also moved up to second from seventh in the CFL in total sacks. The Alouettes claimed the Eastern Division Championship and reached the Grey Cup finals. Linebacker T.J. Hill was named as a CFL All-Star under the Creehan’s coaching.
Creehan accepted his first professional coaching position in 2004 and served as the defensive line coach for the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. The Stampeders finished as the top rush defense combined during the 2004-06 seasons. Calgary reached the CFL playoffs in three consecutive seasons from 2005-07 and led the CFL in sacks in 2005. Creehan coached two CFL All-Stars in Joe Fleming (2004) and Sheldon Napastuck (2005) and a CFL Rookie of the Year finalist in Tearrius George (2007).
After his stint at Lehigh and before coaching at the professional level, Creehan worked at Southern Illinois University, Clarion University, and James Madison University. At SIU, Creehan coached tight ends and signed the team’s Rookie of the Year in the 2000 season.
From 2001-2003, Creehan worked as the linebackers coach, special teams coordinator and the strength and conditioning coach at CU. Some notable accomplishments for Creehan at CU included the signing of 10 players in two years to National Letters of Intent, reducing the opponent’s average kickoff return by 50 percent, blocking seven punts in 2001 and upping that total to 12 during the 2002 season and having several players earn All-PSAC honors as linebackers. While at JMU, Creehan served as the defensive ends coach from 2003-04. He coached first-team Atlantic 10 Conference and All-American defensive end Jerame Southern. Southern also participated in the I-AA All-Star Game.
Creehan began his duties at Lyon College on December 1, 2017.
“I am pleased that Coach Creehan has agreed to lead the football program at Lyon College,” said Dr. King. “He received his undergraduate degree at a selective liberal arts college and, therefore, understands Lyon’s mission and what it takes to be a scholar-athlete. Both his personal and professional experience make him an excellent fit for Lyon.”
The Scots finished 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the CSFL during the 2017 season and will participate as an associate member of the Sooner Athletic Conference beginning in the 2018 season. The 2018 Lyon College football season schedule will be released during the spring of 2018.