Athletics Hall of Fame
The 2016 inductees into the Bluffton University Athletics Hall of Fame span 40 years of Bluffton sports history. Phil Krouskop ’65 was selected for his accomplishments as a high school baseball coach, Matthew Creamer ‘80 is being recognized for his accomplishments on the basketball court, Todd Hafner ‘84 is being honored posthumously as a two-sport star and the 2004 women’s track and field team will be celebrated for winning the women’s conference championship.
The Feb. 13 induction banquet, with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m., is open to the public. Cost is $20; tickets may be purchased at http://tickets.bluffton.edu through Jan. 30. Alumni who are hall of fame members are entitled to two complimentary tickets, which may be reserved by contacting Julia Szabo, director of alumni engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-358-3245.
Phil Krouskop played football and baseball at Bluffton in the 1960s, but he is best known as Coach K due to his nearly four-decade coaching career at Perry High School. Krouskop compiled a record of 503-336 as head baseball coach of the Perry Commodores from 1968 to 2007.
During his 39 years of coaching high school baseball, he racked up six league titles, 24 sectional titles, seven district titles, four regional final berths, one regional championship and a state appearance in 1998. In 2011, Krouskop was inducted into the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, and in 2012 the Perry High School baseball field was named in his honor.
Krouskop graduated from Bluffton in 1965 and earned degrees in social work and psychology. He was a member of the 1962 baseball and football teams that were previously inducted into the Bluffton Athletics Hall of Fame.
Krouskop stays active in retirement by volunteering. He reads to local youth at the Mizpah Community Center in Lima, tutors at Perry schools and is a volunteer custodian at his church.
Matthew Creamer scored 43 points in a 1979 basketball game against Manchester College. The number still ranks as the 5th most in school history, 37 years later. That statistic combined with an impressive career as both a player and a coach are why Creamer is being inducted into the Bluffton University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Creamer played at Bluffton from 1976 to 1980. He earned four letters and was selected captain for the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons. During the 1978-79 season he was named to the All-Hoosier Buckeye Collegiate Conference 1st Team and All NAIA District 22. Creamer is 21st in the Bluffton University men’s basketball individual single season scoring record with 467 points, and he is ranked 25th on the career men’s basketball scoring list with a total of 1,054 points in four years.
Creamer’s head varsity coaching career spans 29 seasons, with stops at Lafayette Allen East (1983-85), Streetsboro (1985-90), Lima Senior (1992-96) and Massillon (1996-2011). He was also the head coach of the Florida Jades (1990-92) and the assistant coach of the Youngstown Pride (1988-90) in the world basketball league. He is currently the head varsity boys coach at Canton Central Catholic.
Creamer graduated in 1980 with a degree in English education. He lives in Massillon, Ohio and is married to Jill Creamer. They have two sons, Christian, 19, and Cameron, 16.
Todd Hafner was a dual-sport standout at Bluffton, earning the A.C. Burkey Award as the top senior male athlete in 1984. Hafner lettered in both tennis and football all four years. He was a 1983 NAIA District 22 All-American and a 1982 and 1983 District 22 1st Team defensive lineman. In 1983 Hafner was named the NAIA player of the week three times and was named the football team’s MVP. He finished the football program with a 4-year tackle total of 426 stops.
Hafner graduated in 1984 with a degree in biology. He was the owner and operator of Hafner’s Hardwood Connection. Hafner shared his love of the game with children in the Toledo area where he coached cadet football for eight years. His team went undefeated for three seasons and was named city league champs for three seasons. In 1992 he was awarded the Catholic Youth Organization Outstanding Adult Contributor Award.
Hafner passed away at the age of 49 in 2012. He is survived by his wife Lorie, son Lukas and daughters Audrie and Madilyn.
The 2004 Bluffton University women’s track and field team had unprecedented success, going from a program that was perennially near the bottom of the conference, to one that was the dominant squad in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Along the way, the team was ranked in the Top 25 UTSCA National Power Rankings (indoor and outdoor), became Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference team champions, won the Defiance College Yellow Jacket Invitational (outdoor) and defeated all the Division III teams at the Vanderbilt Spring Classic. Ten athletes still hold outdoor school records.
Seven event titles were won at the HCAC championships. Rita (Muether ‘06) Oakleaf was named HCAC Most Outstanding Female Track Athlete, Cindy Allan ‘07 earned HCAC Most Outstanding Female Freshman Athlete honors and Nate Smith was named HCAC Women’s Track and Field Coach of the Year.
This team holds the only women’s track and field conference championship in school history.
The Feb. 13 induction banquet, with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m., is open to the public. Cost is $20; tickets may be purchased at http://tickets.bluffton.edu through Jan. 30.