After nineteen total years coaching Deerfield Boys Varsity Hockey, Coach Brendan Creagh finished his last season with the team this March.
Coach Creagh attended Phillips Andover Academy as a postgraduate student, so he is well versed in prep school hockey. After Andover, he played for four years in the Southern Professional Hockey League, a minor professional league, for the Peoria Rivermen out of Illinois. In 1996, Mr. Creagh took the job as an assistant coach and then became head coach in 2002.
His “work ethic and commitment to every player” has gained him respect from his fellow coach Mr. Tim McVaugh and his players. Tommy Craft ’18, remembers a moment during the team’s home game against Choate this year: between the end of the 3rd period and the beginning of overtime, Coach Creagh gave a speech that Craft attributes to the success of the team in that game. “His composure and reassurance in between periods calmed our team down and brought us back down to earth. He believed in us,” Craft said.
Another one of Coach Creagh’s traditions is making strong connections with every single one of his players, on and off the ice. Andrew Hadley ’16, noted, “Whether we were coming off a win or a loss, we would start every practice circled around Coach, everybody on one knee, and he would find little things to chirp people about. It was one of those small things that made the connection between coach and player, adult and kid, teacher and student.” After every game, the coaching staff, led by Coach Creagh, goes around the locker room and shakes every single player’s hand. Even this small act facilitates the connections and relationships that are crucial to the season.
Another iconic aspect of Mr. Creagh’s speeches are his references to food. “Some coaches say things like ‘we need to be a meat and potatoes team.’ Creagh often brings in the entire menu. It is hilarious,” Coach McVaugh added.
Throughout his years of coaching, Coach Creagh has enforced the concept of working hard while having fun. But most importantly, he understands the many aspects of being a faculty member that go beyond just coaching: “…the job description for a faculty member requires that each of us needs to wear many hats. So as I reflect upon my time at Deerfield, and simultaneously look forward to the challenges that await me, I don’t view those experiences through one lens. So while there are many aspects of coaching hockey at Deerfield that I will miss, I am keenly aware that there are fulfilling challenges that await me.”
His positive attitude, competitive mindset, and mentorship will be missed on the ice, but his presence will continue to shape the lives of all members of campus.
Finally, he says, “if I am forced to name one thing over all others I will miss most, there is no question that I will miss building relationships with my fellow coaches and players, and helping mentor young student-athletes to care as much about who they are, as how they play.” Thank you, Mr. Creagh.