MT. VERNON — Doug Creel will be back on the basketball sideline for the Rams basketball team.
The Mt. Vernon Township High School school board approved Creel as the new boys basketball coach on Monday night. Creel takes over for Scott Gamber who resigned after six seasons at the helm of the Rams.
“I want to thank the board, our Superintendent Dr. (Michael) Smith and principal Wes Olson for just giving me the opportunity to get back in because any time that you get out, there are no guarantees that you'll ever get the opportunity to be the head coach again,” Creel said. “I'm excited about it.”
Creel is also the school's athletic director and serves as an assistant principal. He will retain both duties along with the coaching spot. The new coach said one of the driving forces behind his return was game nights.
“On game nights I was just kind of lost,” Creel said. “Once things were running smooth and you have officials in place or workers in place and your ticket takers, security, and you've got everything going good after that point I was kind of lost.”
This is Creel's second boys basketball tenure. He is the second winningest coach in boys basketball school history. He racked up 240 victories from 1996 to 2008. Howard Ross has the most victories in the history of the program with 271.
The most successful period of Creel's coaching tenure came in the late 90s. The Rams lost just 10 times in a three-year span from 1996-97 to 1998-99. The Rams claimed regional titles each season and also made a run to the state quarterfinals. The final year of the period Mt. Vernon lost just one time. It came in the sectional final to a Darius Miles-led East St. Louis squad. Creel's teams surpassed the 20-win mark seven times in the 13 seasons and recorded just two losing campaigns.