"He was the heart of it all."
-- Bill Hancock, director of the College Football Playoff, on Dan Creedon's impact on the CU and Boulder sports scene
"Well, there goes a true legend and a true sports hero."
-- Doug Looney, former Sports Illustrated reporter
"I feel like I learned almost everything from Dan Creedon. ... I lived and died by his approval."
-- Rick Reilly, former Camera reporter and ESPN columnist
"He loved all sports, and baseball was a passion."
-- Tracy Ringolsby, Hall of Fame baseball reporter
"I thought he knew more about the University of Colorado than anyone. He should have been the assistant AD. That's how good he was."
-- Irv Brown, former CU baseball coach
"When I first came to Boulder, I didn't miss reading his column -- ever. I thought he was a great writer. And I thought he was fair."
-- Ceal Barry, CU interim athletic director
Dan Creedon spent countless hours nearly every day for almost 40 years at a desk in the sports department in the old Daily Camera building on Pearl Street.
From there he shaped the lives of reporters, big-time college conference commissioners and those who follow sports in our community.
Creedon died Wednesday at the age of 75 at Boulder Community Hospital.
Bill Hancock, director of the College Football Playoff, knew Creedon for more than 40 years.
"Every time I went to Boulder, I would go by the paper and Dan would always be there," Hancock said. "Some of us wondered if he had a cot in some back room in there. But he would always drop whatever he was doing to take a minute to visit.
"He put out a wonderful product. You had to read the Camera. It was because of the care that Dan gave to it. It mirrored the care he gave to everything and everyone he ever touched."
'The athletic director'
Creedon, who spent 39 years at the Camera, was a fixture in Boulder sports after moving from New Jersey to attend the University of Colorado in 1956.
He began his tenure at the Camera in 1962 as a sports reporter and was named the sports editor in 1973. Creedon retired in 2001.
Chuck Neinas, who was the commissioner of the Big 8 Conference for 10 years during Creedon's tenure with the paper, noted his unparalleled work ethic.
"He was prolific," Neinas said, recalling when the conference would fly reporters to each campus ahead of football season to meet with coaches and players. Most papers, like the Kansas City Star, would send two reporters. The Camera just sent Creedon on the tour.
"He would write more than those papers that sent two people. He would do a news piece, a personality piece and a sidebar," Neinas said.
He also recalled one instance in 1973 when most of the reporters wrapped up their interviews at Kansas and went back to the hospitality room to write their stories. Creedon and Neinas stayed behind to watch practice.
When they headed back to the hospitality room, the pair decided to tell the other reporters that All-American quarterback David Jaynes had blown out his knee.
"Everyone had written their stories. They were all scrambling," Neinas said. "We just said, 'Once in a while you guys should go to practice; you might learn something.'"
Creedon transferred that work ethic and those expectations to his reporters when he became sports editor.
Fellow former Camera sports editor Gary Baines, who was hired by Creedon in 1982 and worked for him for 19 years, said, "He was the consummate journalist and the best guy I've ever worked with.
"He was very demanding, but you always knew the bottom line with him, which was putting out the best possible product, the best possible sports section."
The CU athletic department benefited from Creedon's efforts at the Camera, CU sports information director Dave Plati said.
"Just the way he paid attention to the smaller sports. He made sure all the teams got in-depth coverage. And if you won a title, you got a banner (headline)," Plati said.
Creedon's knowledge of the university was so vast that Neinas used to call him "the athletic director."
"He always knew what Colorado should be doing," Neinas said.
And he was always around.
"After he retired, every time you turned around you'd find Dan Creedon at a game," Bolder Boulder race founder and CU Regent Steve Bosley said of Creedon's attendance at Buffs games.
More than just a boss
Before he retired, he left his mark in the newsroom.
"Dan was an institution at the Daily Camera, as well as in the Boulder, Colorado and national sports communities. Most of all, he was a tremendous journalist -- thorough, tough and demanding, yet always fair and highly respected -- who built our sports section into one of the best in the country during his tenure as sports editor," Camera executive editor Kevin Kaufman said. "His legacy lives on in the dozens of working journalists -- both sports side and news side -- as well as a host of others working in the sports field whom he taught, mentored and befriended over the decades."
Count Steve Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, among those Creedon mentored.
Hatchell said Creedon helped shape his career by convincing him to come to Colorado to finish his journalism degree. Hatchell was attending Northwestern when Creedon convinced him to come West. Hatchell graduated from CU in 1970, and in 1976 he spent one year as director of sports information for the Buffs before going on to a long career in college football.
"He was just somebody that you feel very blessed that you get to grow up with in your family, per se," Hatchell said.
Creedon never married or had any children, but he wasn't alone by any stretch of the imagination.
Doug Looney, who met Creedon while they worked at the Colorado Daily at CU and spent 22 years writing for Sports Illustrated, was at his bedside with about 10 others Wednesday in Boulder.
"We weren't like his family, we were his family," Looney said.
Former Camera sports writer Neill Woelk spent 20 years working for Creedon and considered him family as well.
"Dan was a great journalist, a better man and the best boss anyone ever had. He was a demanding perfectionist who believed in his craft -- and those who had the privilege of knowing him also knew him as a man with a huge heart who would do anything for a friend. He was a mentor, a confidant and the best friend anyone could have ever asked for."
Funeral service information is pending.