Nick Creegan has never been afraid to fuel his passions. After a successful career in sports journalism, his knack for entertainment led him to start an acting career.
In his first season this spring in a "Law and Order" spinoff called "Law and Order: Organized Crime,", Creegan, 29, proves it’s never too late to switch gears.
Creegan’s love of sports led him to stop studying for a pre-law degree at the State University of New York at Albany and pursue a journalism career.
“I thought I wanted to be an attorney,’’ Creegan said. “And then I realized that … I'm only doing this to make certain people happy. What do I want to do? My favorite thing to do at the time was watching ESPN. I would watch ‘First Take’ and other debate shows.”
Creegan also performed in his college’s theater department.
“[Acting] was always a love of mine, but I just didn't see it as a viable career path, so I decided to go down the journalism route,” he said.
Creegan, a member of the SJI 2012 class, carried his dramatic flair into his career as a journalist. After working at ESPN and Fox Sports News, he moved on to AOL as an on-air host and producer. There, he worked on a satirical sports show, "2 Point Lead,” where he acted in comedy sketches alongside professional athletes.
“I was able to kind of blend the two loves together,” he said. “I reignited that itch for acting while I was working there, and I pretty much decided to do things on my own when I wasn't working as a journalist. I would work on sketches on Instagram.”
One particular Instagram sketch caught the eye of Carmen Cuba Casting and earned Creegan his first role in the drama series “David Makes Man” on Oprah Winfrey’s network.
Soon after his first acting gig wrapped, Creegan, who also worked as a full-time producer at Ryot Studio in Manhattan, was laid off from Ryot and spent the next two years seeking his next job.
“There were times I really felt like giving up,” Creegan said. “There were times when I was wondering how I was going to be paying rent. It was a struggle, you know. It was a grind. And the one thing that really boosted my confidence is when I was cast in the ABC network talent showcase.”
The famously competitive showcase has fostered the talents of critically acclaimed actors such as the late Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o.
Creegan’s second significant role came after an unorthodox audition process in which he and his girlfriend, while vacationing in Peru late last year, used a makeshift tripod to film his audition tape. Less than two weeks later, his agent informed him that he had landed the “Law and Order” role as Richie Wheatley.
“It was the most unconventional tape I've ever done,” Creegan said, “and something about it told me, ‘You know what? I think there's gonna be some good that comes out of this.’ ”
Creegan discussed the significance of his new role.
“It's an amazing feeling to be a part of a franchise that has been around for the better part of 20 years…I’m learning so much from the people on set,” he said. “The experience has been nothing short of amazing. I feel truly blessed and lucky to be a part of such an amazing team.”
Creegan’s plan for the future is to continue acting but also include producing and starring in his own short film, and creating special projects with actors and athletes.
“Life is what you make it, and you know we're only here for a finite amount of time,” said Creegan, who was recently cast in the adventure comedy film "Good Egg." “Everyone should see what I've been able to do with my life at this young age and know that it's never too late to start anything, and you should always follow your passion."