The late James Allen Creel began his Bluffton career as a leader both in sports and student organizations. In 1934, Creel’s freshman year, he was elected class president and held an exclusive backfield post the entire football season. He became involved in basketball, baseball and track as well, making a name for himself as the most versatile athlete at Bluffton.
Creel played during the A.C. Burcky era. “In athletics, under our fine coach and gentleman A.C. Burcky, I learned how to win graciously and lose gracefully, a lesson that has aided me countless times since my graduation from Bluffton,” he said.
Creel was a part of the 1937 football team that Coach Burcky called, “… the best team we have had in the history of Bluffton College.” His rushing and receiving that year made Bluffton a formidable competitor.
In basketball his freshman year, Creel began earning a reputation for aggressive play on the court. The 1934 Ista described him as having “natural basket-getting superiority” and “aggressive guarding tactics.” His basketball talents increased during his four years at Bluffton and, in a 1937 game against Findlay, he scored 24 points.
Creel also earned respect in baseball and track, and by his fourth year he held 11 athletic letters.
Creel, who died in 2000, believed in the importance of relating well with people. “The four years I spent at Bluffton taught me how to live with other people on a day-to-day basis and to respect their way of life. In whole, I learned not only academically, but tolerance and understanding as well.”