Creer: 'I'm already teary-eyed'
CHAMPAIGN — One of the top quarterbacks in school history went to the center of the field for Senior Day activities Saturday.
Nathan Scheelhaase hugged mom LouAnn and wife Morgan. Next, he hugged Illinois coach Tim Beckman. Followed by a family photo.
But someone was missing. Glaringly so.
Nate Creer wasn’t on the field for his son’s final game as an Illini. Banned from campus after an in-stadium altercation during a game against Michigan State, Creer watched from home.
“That’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks,” Creer said.
Creer wanted to be at the game, but the school said no.
“Not an option,” Creer said. “I took the pill and that was it. They said no.”
In his final game as an Illini, Scheelhaase threw for 307 yards and ran for 55, setting the school’s career total offense record, breaking Juice Williams’ mark.
His dad didn’t get to see it in person. Creer could have gone to Illinois away games at Indiana and Purdue. But he chose to stay home. He didn’t want his presence to be a distraction for his son.
“I thought about it, but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to go,” Creer said.
The last thing he wanted to do was hurt his son’s reputation.
“I don’t like that part of it,” Creer said. “Everything is ‘Nathan Scheelhaase’s father.’ ”
Creer has been around the Illinois program since his son signed with Ron Zook. Creer moved to the Champaign area to continue following his son’s career. Just like he had since pee-wee football days.
“It’s been a long time,” Creer said. “I was talking to a friend of mine about how fast it went. I remember him in pee-wee football. Now, he’s done.
“He’s ready to move on. He’s got his wife. He’s got his life to live now.”
Creer admits he will miss it.
“I’m already teary-eyed,” Creer said.
Creer planned to watch the Illinois-Northwestern game by himself. He didn’t want to go into detail about the incident.
Creer said he has received support from fans and parents within the program. The coaching staff has been silent.
While his son begins life after college football, Creer said he is thinking about leaving the area. He’s even got a destination in mind.
“I’m thinking about moving to Jamaica,” Creer said. “I want to retire and go surfing. It’s going to be soon. I’ve been planning this for the last five years.”