The Ultimate Pirate

Donald "Doc" Anderson
Donald “Doc” Anderson

By Travis Jaudon, Staff Writer

Having success on and off the playing field is the goal for most collegiate athletic programs, and that is no different here at Armstrong. But with the countless hours it takes applying, registering, etc. for school piled on top of practices and games, the student-athlete has a full plate at all times. Although it’s never easy balancing the strenuous workload, Dr. Donald Anderson makes it less challenging for the Pirates.

Donald Anderson, or “Doc” as most call him, has been a part of the Armstrong faculty since he became an Assistant Dean in 1966. After years of service, Anderson “retired” from Armstrong in 1992, but that word retire should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

Anderson told me that since he became involved with student-athlete affairs he assists the student-athletes with “academic advisement and eligibility.”

Additionally, Anderson became a volunteer in the department four years ago, but while his compensation would decline, his contributions would continue to be a vital part of the athletic program.

Former Armstrong Athletic Director Andy Carter said Anderson, “elevated the reputation of Armstrong athletics and provided countless scholarships to student-athletes over the years.” The scholarships Mr. Carter is referring to are direct results of Anderson’s efforts to start a program offering scholarships within the athletic program.

While working for the athletic department in the 1990’s, Anderson collaborated with the athletic department to create the Anderson Athletic Scholarship Program, which lends support to Pirate athletes during attendance.

“I enjoy coming to the office every day. Playing some small role in helping student-athletes graduate is a source of satisfaction for me,” Anderson said. Talk about a Hall of Fame attitude, and yes, Anderson is in the Armstrong Hall of Fame.

“To be a Citation Award participant in the second Hall of Fame class was a great honor to me” said Anderson.

Considering the strides Armstrong has made while Anderson has been involved, I’d say the honor is well deserved. So what have some of those changes been? Well, as Anderson has been on campus for almost 50 years, the changes are many, but he noted the “expanded staff helps insure that student-athletes can be successful in their athletic activities and in their studies.”

It wasn’t surprising to hear a man so involved with the welfare of others count an expanded support staff as one of the biggest strides Armstrong has made during his tenure.

Anderson counts his major contributions on behalf of the student-athlete as merely a “small role.” It’s a humble self-assessment from the man who plays perhaps the most important role in the entire athletic department. Although Doc may not realize his importance, others surely do.

Jennifer Rushton, the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and Student-Athlete Affairs said, “Anderson is absolutely vital to what the athletic department does everyday.”

Not surprisingly, Anderson doesn’t simply contribute behind office doors; that would be too easy. “It wouldn’t be an Armstrong athletic event if Doc wasn’t closely watching on the sidelines” Rushton said. “He is a fan of all our athletic teams.”

In this writer’s opinion, there might not have ever been or ever will be another Pirate as consistently passionate about his role at Armstrong State University than Donald Anderson.