Donut Friday: Unchanged and Abiding in Gustavus Sports Info

Posted on April 3rd, 2020 by

Donuts practiced social distancing during the most recent Donut Friday on March 20.

Those working in athletics jokingly acknowledge Friday mornings as just the start of “three more days left in the work week.” So how do you keep a positive outlook on what is sure to be a busy, event-filled weekend? Some of the folks in the Gustavus athletics department prepare for the weekend by socializing in the sports information office while enjoying a donut.

The gathering is simply known as Donut Friday.

Donut Friday has its roots in the fall of 2011 when Ethan Armstrong took over as interim sports information director.

“The thought behind Donut Friday was that it would be a sugar-fueled pump up for the people who had to be working when everyone else wasn’t,” Armstrong says. “It eventually turned into a sugar-fueled pump up for the start of the weekend since everyone would be back on Saturday and Sunday because that’s Division III athletics.”

In the changing landscape of college athletics over the past nine years, Donut Friday has remained a constant. As chair of the Donut Friday board of directors, the sports information director is responsible for picking up the donuts every Friday morning from Family Fresh in Saint Peter. Donut Friday’s mission is to foster camaraderie and a sense of community with coaches and student employees alike.

“One of the biggest things is the social aspect of it,” says Laura Burnett-Kurie, head coach of the women’s soccer team. “You have a bonding opportunity with our fellow coaches, which is fantastic.”

Although donuts are undoubtedly a great way to start a Friday morning, Donut Friday has not gone without contention. Using a first-come-first-serve philosophy, the tardiness of a Donut Friday attendee may result in a sparse donut selection during the later morning hours.

Burnett-Kurie is arguably the most vocal Donut Friday attendee, often heard voicing her displeasure when all the chocolate-covered cake donuts are gone before her arrival. Randall Stuckey, director of athletic development and engagement, is a happy camper as long as the box of donuts includes an “old fashioned.” And Mark Hanson, the head men’s basketball coach, is not overly picky, but anything maple-covered is his top choice.

“I think it harkens back to when I was getting up and delivering papers,” Hanson says of his fondness for maple-glazed donuts. “I picked up the papers just two doors down from the bakery and the maple donuts were always my favorite. There’s nothing like the smell of a bakery at five a.m.” Today, (we won’t say how many years later) Hanson is routinely the first person in the door to make his donut selection.

Loyalty to Donut Friday has been consistent since its inception. The original student workers who attended Donut Friday set the standard.

“Dan Bradt ’14 would sprint to the office at chapel break every single Friday for his donut, while Melissa Doyle ’14 was consistently bringing in friends and teammates to take part,” Armstrong recalled. “For a lot of people like Melissa, I think the social aspect of Donut Friday became the routine. Coaches, students, and staff would come in, grab a donut, and chat. The sports information office, easily the best office on campus, turned into sort of a barbershop.”

And for many students and staff in the athletics department, we eagerly await the next Donut Friday, when we can socialize once again while enjoying a fried cake of sweetened dough.

 

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